17 years…all leading up to this.
Logan is, sadly, the final movie where Hugh Jackman will don the metal claws of the Wolverine. And if Jackman is going out as Wolverine, he deserves to go out with a bang. In Logan, Logan – going by his birth name James Howlett, which is a fun Easter egg – is on the last legs of his life. The adamantium in his skin is poisoning him, and his healing factor isn’t working at optimal levels. He works as a limousine driver to earn enough cash to get him and a dementia-ridden Charles Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart) on a boat and as far away from civilization as possible. However, things don’t go necessarily his way as a young girl Laura (Dafne Keen) appears in his life and now Logan has to take Laura and get her to a safe haven while trying to find some sort of respite as his life comes to a close.
First and foremost, all of the props go to Hugh Jackman as Logan. We have all known for 17 years that he is Wolverine and has always continued to be great, whether the movie he was in was poor or not. But in Logan, he gives an honestly Academy Award-winning level performance as the Wolverine, finally being able to deconstruct the character and show the layers that Logan has always been able to portraying in any movie he’s in, but the PG-13 rating and the whole X-Men thing makes it hard for Hugh to really be the Wolverine he always wanted Wolverine to be. But with Logan being rated R, Hugh Jackman pulls no punches and delivers his best performance as Logan in 17 years, and that says a lot. Not just him, but Sir Patrick Stewart delivers an outstanding performance as Xavier, the most dangerous mind in the world suffering from a degenerative brain disease. He’s humorous when he needs to be and gives one of the best X-Men monologues in the franchise’s history. Dafne Keen’s portrayal as Laura was also great, playing a ferocious killer who found some sort of kindred spirit in both Logan and Xavier as they take her to North Dakota. But hands-down, this is Hugh Jackman’s movie, and he gave his all in his last time as Wolverine.
The action in Logan is brutal in every sense of the word. The opening scene alone has its fair share of dismemberments, and then they up the violence as the film goes on. I would advise to leave younger audiences at home, because when it gets violent, it really gets violent. There is a lot of blood, gore, more blood and more gore. It’s still as electric as ever, with some very creative kills and a final action sequence that really pushes what they can do with an action sequence. But, most of all, this is the most emotional X-Men film that has been made since its inception back in 2000. There is some true emotional weight that drives the film, and it gets heartbreaking to a certain degree to where it will drive anyone to tears by the very end. It’s a truly emotional film to watch given what has been said about the film: this is the last time Jackman will play Wolverine, while also being Sir Patrick Stewart’s last hurrah as Professor Xavier. Once the film begins, Jackman and Stewart already start to peel back the layers of their respective characters both through the dialogue and through actions. There is a very powerful scene with Logan and Dafne’s Laura that really pulls at the heartstrings, and the subsequent scene after that is further proof as to why Jackman deserves an Oscar for his role. Even much sadder is the final scenes of the film, which is legitimately heartbreaking. Have the tissues handy when you go to see the movie.
That being said, there is some minor downsides to Logan. For starters, Stephen Merchant as Caliban was completely underutilized for who his character was at this stage. He was sort of just there to really be the catalyst for Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce and the reveal of another character that I won’t spoil. Speaking of Holbrook’s character, he was also sort of the stereotypical bad guy hunting the main character’s objective. Granted, Holbrook is extremely charismatic and his character amplifies his charisma during the film, but by the final act he’s reduced down to just being that one-off villain. Pacing issues did plague the film in the beginning, as it took a fair bit of time to get onto the bloody good adventure that the trailers portrayed.
In the end of it all, Logan is a shining example of another comic book film that is more than just a comic book film. It’s violent and gory, with the right amount of heart and emotion to elevate it above every X-Men film that has been made. Logan was the perfect send-off for one of the best on-screen characters in comic book history. Hugh Jackman’s legacy as Wolverine will live on forever and ever, and Logan drew the life of Wolverine to a sad close…17 years in the making.