After 2 critical and box office misfires, it would seem that the standalone Wolverine film was cursed to fail… until now. Ditching the tired superhero movie formula, this is linear, leaner and grittier than before, amping up the character study and pathos for a more sombre and mature exercise in storytelling. We are down to 3 X-Men characters on top of the mysterious Laura – a young girl who provides the main thrust of the narrative by seeking the help of Logan, or James Howlett to be exact, an exhausted wreck of his previous self and now working as a limo driver after unidentified incidents saw him and Charles Xavier living in exile in Mexico. Free from the shackles of the X-Men series (the meta-nod half way through the film is an inspired move) and the family friendly rating, the film is more low-key and brooding; the action sequences, when they happen but not as often as you expect, are more brutal and bloodied and the language more naturally sprinkled with expletives. Clearly influenced and played out like a Western, this film is all about redemption, aging and mortality and it is a beautiful and touching film that gives both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart (and even Stephen Merchant who plays the new Bristolian Caliban) the opportunity to show themselves as proper actors capable of gravitas and emotional layers while slashing people’s faces off. Last year’s Deadpool signals that the oversaturated superhero genre can survive having, or maybe even needed, the postmodern piss taken out of it and laughed all the way to big box office returns. And now, Logan proves that the genre needs to keep evolving in order to sustain the interests of a jaded and unimpressed audience, not with bigger explosions or endless violence – though well crafted and visceral sequences like the ones we have here are certainly welcomed – but original storytelling that doesn’t feel repetitive or overfamiliar while having the guts to take a little risk from time to time.