Logan is so great you’ll almost forget it’s an X-Men movie.
There was brief period, between the years 2000 and 2003, where X-Men films were consistently brilliant, original, and more interested in trying to tell a single story then setting up interminable sequels.
The more than enjoyable First Class notwithstanding, not until now has one of the mutant flicks reached the heights of the now classic X2 and original X-Men. Logan, so welcome amidst potential franchise post-Apocalypse stagnation, will get you excited about the X-Men again.
Set, unsurprisingly, in the not-too-distant future, Logan’s America, strangely bereft of mutants, is dangerous, divided and overshadowed in parts by a towering wall separating the US from Mexico. The Wolverine himself (Hugh Jackman donning his claws for the last time) makes ends meet for him and Professor Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart) by driving a limo, both at the tail end of their energy and powers as their once-imitable skills slowly become less reliable.
Enter a young mutant, one of the last, in need of protection (newcomer Dafne Keen) and the mysterious forces after her; mercenary Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his unforgiving bank-roller Dr Rice (Richard E. Grant basically in tow for his accent).
Logan opens with one of its many, many superb action sequences – unrelentingly violent compared to Logan’s predecessors and fittingly frenzied for its central character; wildly striking at those intent on stealing his car amongst moments, duly quintessential to Jackman’s screen presence, that are hilariously funny. Outdone only by a number of escape and confrontation sequences more intent on showing Logan’s testier instants in all their guts and glory than cutting between several different angles at a time, even amidst the sprawling epic that is Logan and its compellingly contemplative moments it’s still the action that stands out.
Making less than subtle references to films like Shane or High Noon, Logan is noticeably a modern western in their best tradition, a genre with emerging appeal following the success of Hell or High Water which is very well realised here, enveloping even more on its own mythology with the clever additions of actual X-Men comics of old scattered throughout, their more colourful idealism regularly snubbed here by the Wolverine.
Surrounded by excellent performers, it’s still Jackman’s film and as with all his most iconic Wolverine moments he is a delight to watch. It’s going to be a very different universe when they soon and inevitably attempt to re-jig the brand – but in the meantime, those like this author enamoured with Jackman’s contributions and the best the X-Men cinematic universe has had to offer over the past 18 years can walk away from Logan knowing that they’ve done him justice.
Logan is in cinemas now