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••• The International Writers Magazine: Film Review

• Helen Reynolds review
Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen & Richard E Grant.
Directed by James Mangold
Screenplay Scott Frank

What if Superman turned super-old? That’s the kind of question Logan makes you wonder as two of its most beloved characters: Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are worn out from saving the world X amount of times. The costumes are gone and old age has finally settled in.

Far from being a snooze-fest though, there’s plenty of action as soldiers with big guns, SUVs and helicopters come at them time and time again. You might miss the magnetism of supervillain Magneto (Ian McKellan joked that he “cried himself to sleep” when he heard he wouldn’t be in this one), but conflict comes thick and fast as government suits, bad corporations, cock-sure military and egotistical lab coats are still determined to control mutant-kind. Though there is some disappointment to be had in bad-guy Boyd Holbrook’s character, whose robotic hand promises “upgrades” that fall short of any kickass I, Robot standard. Gadgets in general are few between.  (Luckily Richard E Grant provides a sick, slick evil presence as the geneticist who is breeding a new generation of mutants).

Logand and Laura Reminiscent of X-Men: First Class, the characters are less mutant and more human. Logan has to care for Charles, his mentor and father-figure, aware that his brilliant mind is now crippled by Alzheimer’s. The movie balances nicely between the raw emotion of this all-too-familiar tragedy for many families, and the wry comedy we’ve come to know and love from the franchise.

Charles (“Chuck” when in grandpa mode) has his brain classed by the military as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. As indeed it is, causing devastating effects if his medication isn’t consistently taken.

Nor is the professor Logan’s only responsibility. There are new claws to contend with as he enters a fast climb to fatherhood after a little girl is left in his charge. Laura (a fierce debut by Dafne Keen) is a rare mutant in a world that hasn’t seen new ones born in decades. The film shows the first - and I think we can all agree - most hellish week of his time playing Dad.    
Dafne Keen

It’s a touching family dynamic of young and old that represents the X-Men movie franchise. Since 2000, audiences have witnessed the hybrid humans battle racist and power-hungry governments. The culture created from the movies has been with us so long I couldn’t help but feel sure, watching Logan’s third vehicle in just over two hours keg it, that mutants must pay a discriminately higher car insurance. It’s these kinds of details that make a world and the X-Men universe is one that keeps evolving and making itself current.

Hugh Jackman has stated this is his last time donning the iconic claws and you can’t blame him. He gives everything to the character in this one. Logan is, of course, nothing but cynical throughout the film, yet who can say whether there’s hope or not for mutant-kind as the black screen pulls up and we read the title’s end? There’s room to wonder both ways.    

However, this movie isn’t about the bigger picture, it’s the smaller, everyday one. Mutants just want a good night’s sleep, a family to joke with, music to listen to… Normal is the dream, just as much as their elusive Eden.

© Helen Reynolds March 10 2017
*Helen has just graduated with her Masters in Creative Writing from Lincoln University 2018

A combination of:

Road to Perdition (2002)
X-Men: First Class (2011)
John Wick 2 (2017)

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