Fine, I’ll admit it, I don’t really like Superhero movies all that much. It’s not my fault, it’s their fault. Too similar, and now marketed as a merchandise machine with the likes of the MCU bringing this into light. Similarly made products, mass produced with a handful of projects per year. It makes them that less personal, and its why Superhero movies like The Incredibles 2, Batman Begins and Logan are so unique and special to me. That lacking stigma I’ve subconsciously attached to the mediocre outputs of Marvel and DC these past ten years.
The final outing of both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, Logan follows the ageing titular character and an ailing Professor X as they transport a young mutant to Eden. My interest in this movie came from the cast and plot alone, with the supporting cast featuring both Stephen Merchant and Richard E. Grant, it’s hard not to get excited.
An outstanding final performance from Hugh Jackman, who says a fond farewell to the character as best he can. Touching, nuanced and a tad hot-headed, Jackman’s final outing as Logan is also his best to date. On par with the very first time he laced up those flashy latex boots, the performance is superior to any other iteration or concept of Wolverine that I know of.
My thoughts on how they handled Logan are similar to that of Professor X, with Stewart’s supporting role as impactful as expected. We see a Professor X different to the intelligent, mind bending powerhouse he is in X-Men and beyond. Instead we see him suffering from what appears to be every ailment to have ever been uttered by medical professionals, in need of constant aide, which Logan provides.
The two performances, as expected, work in hand in hand with one another. Their reliance on one another for support, both physical and mental, provides the movie with its core focus in the first hour. It’s how the film builds upon this that surprises me most. Not anything I’ve seen before from the genre, and with a splash of excellent chemistry, the cast works incredulously to provide some of the best performances they’ve ever given on the big screen.
James Mangold’s direction rounds this off tremendously. A real step up from his work on The Wolverine, which was an enjoyable side-movie to explore the character in a bit of further detail, but lacked the depth Logan provides. I’m a big fan of his style, and although the last half hour of the film drags on a bit, his direction is incredible the whole way through. From start to finish I’m invested in a character that, while being a big part of my childhood, has evaded me in book and film form. Playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance on my PSP while on short road trips was the strangest way to introduce myself to this character.
Possibly the most surprising performance of all though comes from Stephen Merchant, whose brief role as Caliban is, suffice to say, some of the best work he’s ever produced in the dramatic genre. The same goes for Richard E. Grant somewhat, wherein his turn as the villainous Dr. Zander Rice has sporadic gushes of devilish charm, akin to his performance in Withnail and I. It’s more of a personal ploy than anything, if it has Richard E. Grant then there’s a good chance I’ll watch it; I can’t get enough of him all of a sudden, a true charm and diamond in the rough.
Logan is the break from the norm that I needed, getting me somewhat back on the wagon for future superhero releases. It’s a one in a million chance of ever having an experience as near-perfect as this movie was, but a man can dream. Crafted and handled with care (unlike so many other films of the genre) Logan has the expected highs and the dramatic lows of any good superhero movie, but it has one key ingredient rarely any other superhero movie has. A heart. And Richard E. Grant.