Directed by James Mangold
Written by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant and Dafne Keen
After almost two decades Hugh Jackman is ready to hang up the claws and walk a from the role (and franchise) that made him a star. Wolverine is a character that Jackman will always carry an association with, much like Sean Connery or any of the previous actors who have portrayed James Bond. Unlike any of the Bonds, Jackman has played the role longer – 17 years – and with “Logan” he gets the grand swan song that has eluded the Bonds. What a swan song “Logan” is and not only for Jackman, it was recently revealed as Patrick Stewart’s final turn as Charles Xavier too.
Both Jackman and Stewart give franchise best performances as Logan and Xavier and thank god for that because save for Dafne Keen, there is not a ton of zazz contained in the supporting cast. Boyd Holbrook and Stephen Merchant are good in their respective roles but are not entirely necessary. Merchant’s character can be axed altogether, and Holbrook only needs to bring you to the introduction of Richard E. Grant’s character. Watching “Logan,” it dawned on me that both Jackman and Stewart had entered this project with the intention of this serving as the swan song for the characters that they have played for nearly two decades. “Logan” is centered on their relationship and spends lots of time devoted to exploring that relationship.
The fascinating thing about “Logan” is that it is a movie that is worthy of recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. James Mangold is in pole position for the Best Director race this year, as far as I am concerned he is the bar that needs to be met in order be in contention for the nomination, the cinematography and make-up are fantastic, and as mentioned above the performances of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Unfortunately for “Logan” for it to receive any kind of Oscar love the Academy needs to undergo a populist revolution – that is a discussion for another time.
I love the way Mangold directs “Logan,” I like that he makes it a character piece for Logan, that it has more in common with a great Western like “Shane” or “True Grit” than a regular superhero movie. I like how Mangold had a meat and potatoes approach to the action sequences in “Logan.” The lack the flashy pyrotechnics of many of the sequences that are in many action and superhero films. Naturally, because of the movie’s R rating, these scenes are balls to the wall with gore and stabbings and the removal of limbs. To Mangold’s credit, while these elements are liberally applied, none of it is overly gratuitous.
“Logan” is the best installment in the “X-Men” franchise to date, with excellent direction and bravo performances it is a well-deserved swan song to end Hugh Jackman’s 17-year tenure as Wolverine. Get your s**t together Academy, because “Logan” deserves Oscar love. If I had anything close to a high profile as a film critic, I would fight tooth and nail for this to happen. Let’s face it I will be fighting the good fight anyway.