Director James Mangold has made a western before, in the form of 3:10 to Yuma, and this is evident in the thematic styling in the third (and final) Wolverine movie Logan. Rather than sticking to the traditional comic book movie formula, Mangold has been given free reign here to make a very gritty standalone story, without being overly bogged down in being tied to the overarching X-Men universe.
Set in the year 2029, Wolverine is now a vulnerable, booze-addled recluse, caring for a nonagenarian Charles Xavier when he is tasked with protecting a young mutant in a witch hunt across an America where mutants have gone into hiding in Eden.
If anyone has wondered why this film has received a 15 rating, your questions are answered in the first scene alone. One of the first things we see is Hugh Jackman dropping the F-bomb before slicing his way through some Mexican thugs (literally beheading one of them with his adamantium claws). This really sets the tone for this blood-drenched film.
This may be Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine but newcomer Dafne Keen, who plays the young mutant Laura, is the heart and soul of this film. Though largely mute for the first 90 minutes of the film, her performance was captivating and she held her own alongside Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart. This is particularly the case when she literally tears through some of the brutal action sequences with violence as brutal as that of Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass.
The plot manages to take a lot of unexpected twists throughout, from the first time we see Laura’s mutant powers, to Wolverine meeting his match in a plotline that delves into the debate over artificial intelligence and genetic modifications. There are also a lot of jaw-dropping action sequences throughout.
All of this makes Logan one of the most thrilling action movies in recent years, while keeping grounded in humanity and giving the audience a clear beginning, middle and end rather than trying to lead into another instalment of the X-Men franchise.
This is a fitting final outing for Wolverine – brutal, bloody, at times funny and, ultimately, devastatingly sad.
Rating: 4 out of 5