After seventeen years, Hugh Jackman is unleashing his claws as the iconic Marvel mutant Wolverine one last time. At least, that’s the plan for the foreseeable future. But if ‘Logan’ is in fact the star’s last appearance as the face of the X-Men movie franchise, this movie is one hell of a way to go out.
Set in a not too distant future, James Howlett isn’t the savage superhero that he once was. Though he may have a healing factor, the man formerly known as the Wolverine is long past his prime and is walking a little slower than he used to. When he isn’t driving a limo to make some extra cash to build his nest egg, he’s acting as the primary caregiver to an older and ailing Professor X. Then one day a young girl with some familiar mutant abilities enters their lives and forces the former X-Men to return to form (as best as they can) and set out on one more mission.
First, we need to establish that this movie is not a straight cinematic adaptation of ‘Old Man Logan’. Instead, it’s simply based on the acclaimed Marvel Comics storyline. There’s a small chance that this might be disappointing to some, but even if it may not be exactly what you are hoping for at first, you’ll find that it’s top notch story with some themes in the same vein as the classic Mark Millar/Steve McNiven tale.
Actually, despite ‘Deadpool’ being the most fun movie in the series (which may lead to many say that it’s the “best”), ‘Logan’ might actually be the best X-Men movie made so far. It was a brutally action-packed film with a lot of heart, which could also be said about Jackman’s performance. Having played the role for a better part of two decades, he finally got his long-time wish to go full berserker mode thanks to the R rating. Both Wolverine and Jackman held nothing back and it spelled some of the most gruesome fight scenes that we’ve ever seen in a superhero movie. In other words, this is the version of the character that we’ve all wanted to see.
However, Logan wasn’t the only one getting down to business. Newcomer Dafne Keen really shined as Laura/X-23 in a big way. Some may have been hesitant at first to see such a young version of Laura on the big screen, but the actress carried herself in an imposing manner that made her every bit as dangerous as ol’ Wolvie. She may have even had some better moves than the star of this show. This was a great introduction for Laura and hopefully she pops up again soon. Plus with ‘New Mutants’ featuring a new team of gifted youngsters on the board and the time-traveling Cable set to appear in ‘Deadpool 2’, X-23 could feasibly be a part of the X-Men film franchise’s future.
Although as much as the R-rating worked out for Wolverine and X-23, it did feel a little wrong for Charles Xavier to be dropping an F-bomb. Despite going through some mind-blowing changes over the years in terms of his health that have certainly given him the right to say whatever the hell he wants, it still feels like the learned founder of the X-Men would have stopped cursing out Logan after he transitioned from James McAvoy to Patrick Stewart. Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often, so we’re not totally taken out of the story by the surprising vocabulary choices from the beloved nonagenarian.
Additionally, a case could might be made that there should have been a little more exposition to shine some light on what happened to land Logan, Professor X, and Caliban in the place that we find them at the beginning of the movie, but the lack of that information didn’t necessarily affect the quality of the film overall. Fans probably would have liked to get some of these details, but we’re still given just enough for the plot to move along nicely. But other than those two very minuscule criticisms, there’s not much else fault to be found with the follow-up to ‘The Wolverine’.
At the end of the day, ‘Logan’ is a love letter to the character of Wolverine, the actor that he made famous, and the fans that supported them both. It’s also a great example of how comic book movies can be more than just some huge summer blockbuster with mindless action where the heroes save the world once again. And above all, it was a compelling tale that everyone can relate to on some level about the legacy that one leaves behind and the people that it impacts. If this is truly the end for Jackman and this franchise, then this story crafted by James Mangold might be the highest note that he could go out on since it raises the bar not only for 20th Century Fox and their X-Men movies, but for the genre as a whole.
So really the last thing that needs to be said is this: Thanks, bub.
‘Logan’ starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, and Dafne Keen unleashes it’s claws on March 3, 2017.