By Meetali Kutty
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E.Grant
Genre: Superhero, Action
The final chapter in Wolverine’s story is a befitting swan song for a character that has helped popularize the comic book movie genre immensily, thanks in no small part to the way the role has grown in the hands of the very capable Hugh Jackman. The first comic book film of the year has set a very high standard for the rest to follow, and indeed is a pitch perfect way to end the story of a character we have grown up watching and feeling for.
Much grittier and grown up than previous outings for the X-men franchise, this R-rated film has plenty to keep viewers riveted- amazing action sequences where every punch, kick or slice feels well thought out, enough dark humour laced with profanity, (with Patrick Stewart also filming his role as Professor X for the last time, and showcasing a foul mouth we haven’t seen on him before) and of course, very real stakes that pack a huge emotional wallop.
Set in 2029, the future is bleak with stark landscapes dominating the screen. Mutants have been almost all wiped out, and we are introduced to Wolverine, who is going by Logan, a broken down version of the character we have seen at his fiercest in previous instalments. He has taken to drinking with a vengeance, his health is slowly failing him, and thoughts of dying plague him. He spends his days driving customers in his limo, and looks after Professor Xavier, whose mental facilities are failing as well. Professor Xavier is a fragile version of the empowered leader we are used to seeing, and has to be kept sedated to prevent him from harming those around him. Wolverine is aided in this by the mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant).
However , Wolverine’s plans at retirement are put to a halt when he encounters a young mutant girl, Laura (X-23, as fans of the comic book series may be familiar with), who shares Wolverine’s healing factors and has her own set of claws. She is being targeted by mutant bounty hunters, led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), head of a group known as the Reavers. Wolverine has to set aside his plans and help the girl, fighting a very unlikely opponent (we won’t spoil it for you), in less than ideal physical conditions.
This film is a much more mature take on the genre, more in keeping with The Dark Knight than with other X-men films. There are plenty of heart wrenching moments so be prepared to shed a few tears, but the story never falters and keeps you hooked from beginning to end. This is a fitting tribute to the character of Wolverine, and a high way for this legend to go out on.
Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen all showcase their acting chops, especially Jackman who showcases raw emotions and a side of the character that is far more human then we are used to. The heart of the movie is the father-son dynamic between Professor X and Wolverine, and the latter’s reluctant paternal role with the young Laura. The movie focuses on the story and on the action elements, eliminating unnecessary side plots and useless love angles, giving viewers the Wolverine story they’ve always wanted. The action sequences are gory and brutal, and one of the highlights is watching X-23 show off her own fighting skills. James Mangold provides a masterful ending to Logan’s emotional journey, and proves that he is the comic book film director to beat. One has to bow their heads to Jackman’s Wolverine who has truly gone out in a blaze of glory.