Movie Review: Logan

Logan is the befitting swansong for Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine, a role he has owned, for close to twenty years now and is finally letting go of those adamantium-claws, this time for good. It's raw, violent and pack full of grit, human drama and hurt in such full measure, that it deserves fully to be the burial ship for this warrior as we bid him a tearful goodbye.

It's an extraordinary piece of film-making that gives Jackman, his valedictory dues as he bows out on a phenomenal high, delivering one of his most heart-wrenching portrayal of one of the most tortured and highly misunderstood x-men whose explosively volatile temper and those shiny 'snikt-snikt' claws of death and maim has been his claim to fame, for just too long. Now he can hang up those boots, having convinced us about his ability to masterfully carry off those quiet, tender moments in a movie; just as well as those supernova brain-blitzing action sequences where he goes on a rampaging streak, dodging and blocking bullets and tearing and slicing through skin and muscle like paper.

Logan, in a lot of ways, doesn't feel like the regular superhero movies. This time, it's about showing that superheroes are also human - vulnerable, broken and beaten - brutally so, by life and the world around them, a world in 2029 that no longer tolerates mutants and has moved on. Logan or Wolverine is an old man, a tottering alcoholic doubling up as a chauffeur, eking out a meager living - keeping his head down trying to save enough money for him to buy a boat - and sail out to the horizon along with his best friend - and erstwhile mentor Charles Xavier ( Patrick Stewart in one of his finest performances EVER!). Logan has hired out a secure bunker-type location deep in the deserts of Mexico and an albino-mutant named Caliban (Stephen Merchant) as a caretaker for Charles. The nonagenarian ex-leader of the X-men who is classified as having the most powerful mind in the world well capable of destroying it, is now suffering from a degenerative disease that causes him to have brain seizures that would cripple the minds of everyone around - and hence, the medicines and the seclusion.

Until of course, their hide-out is discovered - and a relatively regular "transporter" job goes downright crazy. Asked to ferry a young mute girl named Laura to a secret location in South Dakota, Logan initially resists but gives in to the promise of money. But turns out, the girl's hot property and a whole bunch of heavily armed soldiers led by this evil wolverine fan-boy with cybernetic arms and a penchant for violence (Boyd Holbrook with enough leering menace in that grin of his!), want her back. She turns out to be a mutant herself - and a chip off the old adamantium block, no less!
After that, all hell breaks loose and the dogs of war are unleashed.

The rest of the movie is a gritty western, a roadtrip through the ruined landscapes of a dystopian America - and bloody violent. The movie, directed by James Mangold, is a welcome breather for some of us fans who didn't quite get the second movie, The Wolverine that had him duking it out in Japan with androids and mecha-drones. We wanted Wolverine to be at his visceral best, that animal snarl building up and those adamantium claws slamming heads into pulp and gutting through limbs. And hell yes, James Mangold lets go of those restraints in this R-rated outing that finally feels like justice, however delayed. Exceptionally well done action set-pieces - one that particularly stood out was the sequence where Logan fights through this crippling brain-numbing seizure that affects everybody around Charles Xavier, trying to get closer to the professor on the verge of being plugged full with hot lead by the brawny mercenary army inside a hotel room. The scene unravels in slow-mo and is absolutely nuts. You have to watch it to get it.

As far as performances go, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are in peak shining form, essaying their beloved roles for one last time. Patrick Stewart in his befuddled avatar of a man, whose brilliant mind is fast degenerating, is absolutely mesmerizing. Jackman of course, proves yet again why we don't want anyone else to play this role. A man with a death-wish, Jackman's Logan is no longer the immortal Wolverine who can swagger into the path of a bullet-rain. He gasps for breath, he cannot run, a rattling cough that signals the rot inside his heart. It's an absolute magnum opus for him, this movie where for a really long time, it's just him trying to come to terms with this shadow of mortality climbing fast over him. The bullets in his body are spewed out slower, the cuts take longer to heal and his body is scarred like the lines in the sands of Mojave desert. But it's his tender moments with both Patrick's character and him trying to come to terms with the feral intensity of Laura (Daphne Keene in her first outing does a remarkable job as the youngster with berserker-rage issues and even lights up the screen with her quiet moments of humor with Logan's character) that makes this movie special. I literally cried for some scenes in this movie - and of course knowing that this is Jackman's last outing didn't help either.

The extreme violence and the mind-numbing brutality exploding on the screen is carefully tempered by director James Mangold, who writes in these tender scenes underpinning the theme for love, family and Logan's unfulfilled need to belong ( A theme that has been consistent with all X-men and Wolverine movies, that quest for him to settle down and have a family) - this time that need crosses borders and bloodlines. So despite the dizzying amount of gore, this movie has more heart and is more emotionally satisfying than any other X-men. It's an amazing movie and if you ever loved the X-men franchise, Logan is that high-point in this franchise, signalling the end of an era. It earns it's due and is the fitting farewell to both Jackman and Stewart. Is this the end of the road for Logan? Will we have another spin-off with the story of Laura and her friends? Maybe. Maybe not.

But Hugh Jackman, you will be missed. Very very much. 


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