While Fox plans to milk movies out of it’s “X-men” property for years and years to come, one component that has been involved in EVERY single X-men or X-men related film is finally putting in his two weeks’ notice after 17 years of dedication…Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has been brandishing his Adamantium claws for a good chunk of his life, and he’s truly cemented himself in one of the most iconic and unforgettable comic book character portrayals put to screen. After appearing in 9 X-men films (one being an amusing “cameo” in “Deadpool”), Jackman wanted Wolverine to go out not with a bang…but with a whimper…an old man’s blood-soaked, berserker fueled whimper that would mark his final outing as the immortal mutant.
Directed by James Mangold, the story follows Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) suffering a miserable, lonely life now that the mutant population is nonexistent, the X-men have either disbanded or died and his healing factor cannot sustain his life for much longer. While caring for a dementia-riddled Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Logan meets a woman who drops a strange young girl (Dafne Keen) in his lap. She’s a new mutant and has very disturbingly close ties to Logan himself. Now he must bring out his claws one last time, save friends both new and old from an enemy relentlessly be hunting them down and give a young girl a chance at life. Damn…even writing that description made me feel a little weepy eyed there.
Ever since the success of “Deadpool,” the idea of R-rated superhero movies has become a dish many studios and audiences want to voraciously consume. “Logan” is the ultimate send off to fans of the character; long since waiting to see what would REALLY happen if a savage animal man went claw crazy on people. Hugh Jackman actually took a large pay cut in order to ensure the movie got an R rating and not only does it show (violently too I might add), it also demonstrates how absolutely necessary it was. “Logan” plays less like a stellar blockbuster of mutant mash-ups and more like a true testament to the essence of this beloved character. It’s gushing with blood, but also with emotion, tragic depth and a frail sense of humanity that these characters have never displayed before.
Jackman portrays Wolverine like never before: raw, unrestrained, human. His story is the saddest song we’ve been waiting to hear being sung properly and Mangold and Jackman deliver in blood-soaked spades. Sure, the gore and violence is intensely excessive, but it’s how Wolverine was always meant to be and just when you think they can’t possibly out-gore the last previous kill; they top it with another and another. Jackman and Stewart’s chemistry is heartfelt and touching. They feel like the heart and soul of the X-men series, seeing them crippled into such battered; wounded soul’s grips your heart and makes you see them in ways far beyond any past appearance. Mad mutant props to our snarling little newcomer, Laura played by Dafne Keen. It’s amazing how much she resembles her growling guardian when she pulls off his patent snarl and slash moves.
The choice for the villains was interesting too; a mercenary group of cyborgs with a deliciously excellent evil lead in the form of Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce. My only mild criticism would be the choice in the “surprise secondary villain” revealed towards the end. It’s an odd choice and one that I understand why the writers used this character, but personally, I felt it was a brief moment of weakness in an otherwise well-oiled mutant motion picture. Overall, “Logan” provides sufficient amounts of emotion, mystery, action and tragedy that it completely transforms your thoughts and concepts of past X-men films into something else entirely. Jackman, Stewart, Keen, Holbrook; everyone is giving their best in the bloodiest, grandest; most powerfully sincere sendoff to this beloved character.
Jackman plays “Logan” like he’s saying goodbye to an old friend and what a phenomenal send-off it is. This will set the standard for any future X-men films for years to come and while I am sad to see Jackman hang up his trademark claws, he could not have asked for a more beautiful, poignant and meaningful send off than with this film.
I give “Logan” 3 and ½ stars out of 4.