Logan review: "The gritty, R-rated Wolverine movie we've all been waiting for"

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Total Film, the UK's smartest film magazine, is part of the GamesRadar+ family, with unique insight and fresh perspectives on the biggest and most interesting films of the year. Here's Total Film's review of Logan by James Mottram, giving you another in-depth verdict on one of the biggest movies of the year. 

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Total Film magazine's Logan review

"What a disappointment you are," chides Professor Charles Xavier to Logan in this third and most certainly final solo outing for Hugh Jackman’s Marvel mutant hero. Barely sleeping, bleary-eyed and booze-addled, with streaks of grey hair running through his beard, the Wolverine is a shadow of his former self. When he’s accosted by a group of Mexican thugs, he’s punched and beaten before finally summoning up those adamantium claws and ripping through skulls.

Inspired by the Mark Millar/Steve McNiven comic Old Man Logan, this second James Mangold-directed Wolverine outing finds the character at his lowest ebb. Scratching a living as a chauffeur, driving drunken high-school grads to casinos, he’s long past the glory days spent with his fellow X-Men. Only the aged Professor X (Patrick Stewart), barely keeping a grip on his sanity or his powers, is around to keep him company.

Together, they live in a desert outpost near the Mexican border, joined by albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant, taking over from Tómas Lemarquis, who played him in X-Men: Apocalypse). Set roughly three decades from now (at one point, Charles watches 1953 western Shane, noting it’s almost 100 years old) the film deliberately doesn’t bring us an outlandish future. Only the high-speed, driver-less auto-trucks suggest we’re not in 2017.

The plot kicks into gear as Logan encounters a nurse, Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez), who implores him to drive her and her young charge Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota, promising $50,000. Already, Logan has been accosted by the metal-handed Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), who’s on the lookout for escapee Laura. Pierce is chief muscle at Transigen, a sinister, crucial-to-the-plot company (run by Richard E. Grant’s Zander Rice) that specialises in growing mutants.

After a series of shocks and plot swerves, Logan, Charles and Laura go on the run – but not before Mangold gleefully shows just why this girl is so special. Athletic, acrobatic and fearless, she’s what you might call a chip off the old block. To Wolverine’s surprise, she boasts adamantium claws too – and she knows how to use them. Is she Logan’s daughter? He’s in denial and she won’t utter a single word.

Making her big-screen bow, the ultra-limber Keen is glorious as the brooding Laura, who is trying to head for Eden, a place of safety across the border. How some will react to the sight of this young actress slicing, dicing, severing and goring her opponents remains to be seen, though; her actions are startlingly violent at times, right up there with Chloë Grace Moretz’s gun-toting turn as Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass.

As for Logan, after the previous lacklustre solo Wolverine outings, not to mention the middling Apocalypse, it’s heartening to see Jackman play up the character’s vulnerabilities. “Bad shit happens to people I care about,” he tells Laura, showing a side of him we’ve rarely glimpsed – world-weary, worn-out and “fucked up”, as he put it. Meanwhile, a hunched-over Merchant is an excellent foil as Caliban, a tracker mutant with skin that blisters painfully in daylight.

From a brilliant casino-set Professor X ‘paralysis’ sequence to a surreal battle of the self (in what feels like a nod to the Terminator franchise), not to mention a secret weapon that alarms even Wolverine, Logan is full of juicy surprises. But what impresses most is how, for once, this is a comic-book film that has the guts to wrap things up. “What a disappointment”? Uh-uh. This is a fine, fitting finale for the movies’ greatest mutant.

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Lauren O'Callaghan

Lauren O'Callaghan is the former Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar+. You'd typically find Lauren writing features and reviews about the latest and greatest in pop culture and entertainment, and assisting the teams at Total Film and SFX to bring their excellent content onto GamesRadar+. Lauren is now the digital marketing manager at the National Trust.