What a different X-Men cinematic universe it would have been if Mission: Impossible II had not gone over schedule while filming in 1999. Dougray Scott was due to play Wolverine in the 2000 X-Men film, but he was forced to hang around on the M:I-2 set playing an unmemorable villain for a little while longer. The part went to Hugh Jackman, and it’s now perplexing to think of anyone else in the role. After being moody in the forest in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or being moody in Japan in The Wolverine, Logan finally gives the character the standalone movie that was needed.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine gave birth to Logan in a rather circuitous manner. That film featured Ryan Reynolds as a poorly received earlier incarnation of Deadpool. Reynolds wanted to revisit the character, and as his clout grew, he was finally able to play a heavily retooled Deadpool in the 2016 film. That was R-rated due to its moderate budget, and it made vast sums of money for all concerned. This allowed Logan to also be produced with the level of violence that was appropriate for the character, without the studio needing to worry about their bottom line. And this violence works, allowing the true brutality of the Wolverine to be demonstrated. It’s really the most honest depiction of the Wolverine ever seen onscreen.
But it’s not simply an orgy of violence, and the weariness of the characters is evident. Logan (Hugh Jackman) now ekes out a living as a limo driver in Texas, making frequent trips into Mexico to deliver medication to Charles Xavier (a magnificent and vulnerable Patrick Stewart). Charles is suffering from a degenerative brain disease, complete with seizures that send out potentially lethal waves of telekinetic energy. There have been no new mutants for a long time, and nobody knows why. Logan and Charles are the last of a dying breed, and the tenderness between these two characters is quietly touching. Charles senses the emergence of a new mutant, and before too long their paths cross with Laura (Dafne Keen), a young mutant with abilities that seem awfully familiar. Unshockingly, sinister forces also want to get their hands on her.
Logan is refreshingly unsentimental in many respects, and shows how far the characters have evolved. When referencing the events of the first X-Men movie, Logan tells Charles that it was a very long time ago. He’s not wrong.
Logan is released nationwide on 1st March 2017.
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