It’s hard to think of a more beaten-up Marvel superhero than Logan. This third solo outing for the adamantium-clawed brawler best known as Wolverine finds him living in an authoritarian world that hasn’t seen a mutant born for 20 years. Our conflicted hero has a limp; he’s a high-functioning alcoholic; he gets “knuckle-pus”; he’s losing his rapid healing abilities and he whispers emo lines like, “Maybe we were God’s mistake.”
Tonally, Logan is comparable to Marvel’s grittier TV output, but it really hopes to mirror the classic ’50s Western Shane. That story of an alienated gunslinger is referenced twice. Mid-1800s Wyoming this isn’t, though: it’s 2029 and most mutants have been hunted down. Logan (Hugh Jackman) has taken 90-year-old Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to the Mexican desert as damage control for the apocalyptic seizures racking his powerful brain. When they’re joined by mysterious 11-year-old Laura (Dafne Keen) – who has Logan’s powers – they become a fascinatingly odd trio of outcasts.
Hunting them are generic science man (Richard E. Grant) and generic security man (Boyd Holbrook), who lead a seemingly innumerable set of Mad Max: Fury Road-style mercenaries. The action sequences are impressive, but also ludicrously blood-drenched, which jars with the subtle dynamic growing between our protagonists.
Logan acts as both an adrenaline-heavy action thriller and an interrogation of the ageing superhero psyche. Deadpool showed us that superheroes can be hilarious; Logan shows us they can be hurt.