Hugh Jackman dons the claws of Wolverine one last time in this ballsy and violent swansong
Hugh Jackman returns for the final time as Wolverine, the role that made him a star. It's a real pleasure to see him finally let off the leash, with this glorious swansong. Unashamedly violent, this is Marvel's hirsute, claw-equipped X-Man as you've never seen him before. Unshaven, grey-haired, booze-soaked and ailing, Logan is now hiding out near the Mexican border, eking out a living as a chauffeur.
Inspired by the Mark Millar / Steve McNiven comic Old Man Logan, the film is directed by James Mangold, who also co-wrote the script and makes a far better fist of things here than in his 2013 stand-alone effort The Wolverine. Right from the opening, as Logan slices and dices some Mexican gangbangers raiding his hubcaps, this is a film that knows what it wants to be. Far removed from the earlier, snarkier X-Men movies, it never flinches from the bloodshed that comes hand-in-claw with such a character.
Alongside Logan is a pill-popping Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), now in his dotage, barely clinging to his sanity, with his mental powers now classified as a WMD. Also joining them is Caliban (Stephen Merchant), an albino mutant with unique tracker abilities. But the story really kicks in when Logan encounters Laura (remarkable newcomer Dafne Keen), a young girl with uncannily similar powers to him. Indeed, her athleticism rather shows him up for the ageing mutant he is.
With various interested parties (including Richard E Grant's boffin) after Laura, Logan turns into a road movie, as our heroes try and spirit her to safety across the Canadian border. The action is superb, from Professor X's paralysis-inducing brainwave to Logan coming face to face with a genetically modified mutant twin. Yet it's the world-weary tone, the low-key setting and the ballsy – and very final – climax that really impresses. To borrow from an earlier X-Men title, it's quite simply first class.
General release from Wed 1 Mar.