Direction: James Mangold
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Dafne Keen
Rating: 5 / 5
This is one of the finest comics-to-screen adaptations ever.
Reportedly the final standalone Wolverine film in the 17-year-old X-Men franchise, the elegiac new tale finds the super-antihero Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) down in the dumps.
The irascible mutant with the adamantium claws is reduced to working as a chauffeur for hire. Ageing and ravaged by years of fighting, he is in constant agony since his self-healing powers have also diminished.
And then he is catapulted back into the fray, called upon to protect a pint-sized girl (Dafne Keen) with similar mutant powers.
He embarks, reluctantly, on a road trip to transport the youngster and his mentor-cum-former professor (Patrick Stewart) to a safe haven.
Writer-director James Mangold, whose work includes Oscar-calibre movies such as Cop Land (1997) and Walk the Line (2005), exceeds expectations.
This is, first and foremost, a poignant character study, with the added punch of ferocious action. Amid frenzied mayhem, the ‘claws attacks’ are choreographed with startling clarity.
Combining heartbreak, intimations of mortality and inherent decency, Jackman successfully conveys the moral ambiguity of his conflicted character. Also back in the fold are the British thespian Patrick Stewart, as the dementia-afflicted professor, and Stephen Merchant, as his albino caregiver.
Newcomer Dafne Keen makes for a spirited action heroine, but both Boyd Holbrook and Richard E Grant are underwhelming as the genocidal adversaries.
Working alongside cinematographer John Mathieson, Mangold has envisioned a dystopian future that resonates with the global socio-politics of the here and now.
The background music score, particularly the end-credits song, ‘When the man comes around’ by Johnny Cash, lends a fillip to the sombre mood.
Logan is, quite simply, the most visceral action-adventure since Mad Max: Fury Road.
Watch the trailer for Logan here