Taking place in a bleak future where the mutant race is close to extinction, Logan is vastly different in tone to every X-Men film that has preceded it.

The plot follows Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he juggles caring for his ailing mentor and father-figure Professor X (Patrick Stewart), while suffering from his own health problems. When the pair encounter a young girl, the first new mutant born in decades, they are faced with the challenge of keeping her safe from her nefarious pursuers.

Where previous entries in this series have dabbled in brainless blockbuster action, Logan is a much smaller-scale story more concerned with packing an emotional punch – and it’s all the better for it. The complex bond between Wolverine and Professor X is used to great effect, anchored by very strong performances by both Jackman and Stewart. Meanwhile, Dafne Keen is superb in the role of Laura, conveying an impressive range of emotions in a role which involves little actual dialogue.

While the focus of Logan is very much on human drama, there are of course a number of action sequences sprinkled throughout the runtime. They display a level of brutality previously unseen in this franchise, but such violence is never glorified.

Indeed, one of the film’s main themes is the heavy toll that a life of violence has on the soul, with an older Wolverine finding himself tortured by the both the horror he has experienced, and that which he has inflicted on others. A foreboding score by Marco Beltrami brings this theme to the forefront at certain moments.

The film’s villains are played by Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant, and both quickly establish themselves as loathsome figures. albeit they are somewhat underdeveloped. This is an excusable flaw however, given the incredible work done with the characters of Logan, Professor X and Laura.

Ultimately, this is a movie built around exploring relationships, with the actions of the antagonists almost a secondary plot-thread.After playing the character for seventeen years, Logan is supposedly Jackman’s final performance in the role of Wolverine; this is a fitting send-off for a character who may well define his entire career.

While those looking for a fun superhero blockbuster would be better served elsewhere, Logan succeeds as a powerful character study which may well leave you with tears in your eyes.

David Craig

[4star]

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