Logan ★★★★★

These five stars will only make sense to you if you, like me, have at some point in your life crossed paths with Wolverine on those drawn pages of escapist, youthful fantasy.

If you haven't, you'll get this: A well acted, extremely violent, gritty superhero movie with a poorly paced final act, but with enough conviction to be a break from the norm.

So if you're not ready for some fanboy rambling you can stop reading right there, bub.

The trilogy of solo movies about Wolverine actually present an interesting arc. We start with a very comic booky opening film, very much following the patterns laid out by other films. It is followed by a film that feels more like a character study with superhero bits thrown in. And it concludes with the hero looking back at those chapters in his life, treating them as flights of fancy or distorted memories, stuff to be forgotten and hidden in a bottle.

Mangold's Logan is not an easy film. It's extremely course in every single aspect. It is the most tangible a super hero has ever become on film. Logan literally distances himself from his comic book past, making him, his actions and struggles very human. And as it turns out, this is exactly what the genre needed as I consider this to be not a benchmark but a source of inspiration for what a film like this can be if you're willing to take some risk and to show your passion for the source material.

Because that is what Mangold puts on display most here. His total dedication to this character, to show what these claws can really do, to show the man behind the beast, the beast behind the man and to show just how deep a connection he has to his past and the people in it. The shared weight of the past between Xavier and Logan is palpable and rings so very true, especially because of the truly outstanding performances by Stewart and Jackman. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, with Dafne Keen giving a really impressive performance as the young girl ending up in Logan's care. She channels a certain ferociousness that was rather unsettling at points.

The bleakness of this futuristic setting so often hinted at in the old X-men comics is beautifully crafted. It is stripped of all the shiny frills and what remains is a barren wasteland of violence and inequality. It is the perfect backdrop for this hero's last confrontation with his past, with hope and with himself. I was truly moved by the inescapable fate Logan is speeding towards. There is a certain endearing humanity to him that is only strengthened by the way Mangold visualizes the extreme violence he is capable of.

Apart from the fact that this is, without the fanboy goggles clouding my judgement, a very solid film, I'm also inclined to conclude that I simply cannot think of a better send-off for one of my favourite characters portrayed by an actor that fit the part perfectly.

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