“Logan, you still have time”, echoes a breathy Patrick Stewart in this X-Men sequel that bucks the previous trend for gloss and spectacle. In this latest instalment of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (aka Logan) he is a very different beast. Morose, drunk on regret, and with old age catching up on him fast we find the wolverine in a downward spiral. He doesn’t heal like he used to, he doesn’t feel like he used to and he’s still on the run from both the past and the present.
It’s this haunted quality that has always marked Hugh Jackman’s character out of the pack. Even when we met Wolverine for the first time in ‘X-Men’ he was already jaded with the world. His superpowers had already made him a target for enemies both casual and determined and this credibly fuelled his disdain for those offering help. However it’s this earthiness of persecution (combined with Jackman’s sardonic portrayal) that has always made his performance the talisman for every X-Men movie and in ‘Logan’ that humanity is given full, venal rein to flesh out his adult hurt and dissatisfaction.
... you know that the beast Logan has tried to tame for so long is only a wrong word away.
As is the way with the man who just wants to be left alone, the world steadfastly refuses to heed Logan’s request. His powers, now a fading blessing, are still a commodity for others and you know that the beast Logan has tried to tame for so long is only a wrong word away. However time is ebbing out fast for the man who cannot die.
In the end the adult melancholia that pervades ‘Logan’ is both complete and satisfying. It’s a sequel that has time and space for hurt, tenderness and it’s all the better for it. Joyously ‘Logan’s’ dirt and grime isn’t window-dressing for another disappointment: it’s a triumph. It’s a triumph beyond both expectation and studio considerations. In ‘Logan’s’ sun-baked vulnerability Hugh Jackman has now finally found the stage where this bull of a man can rage.2