A fitting farewell. So Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) isn’t the superhero he used to be. It is far more painful and exhausting for him to heal, so he no longer actively picks fights. All he wants to do is drive a limo and stow away a little bit of extra cash for him and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to retire. It seems like life has other plans, and he crosses paths with a young mutant (Dafne Keen) that needs to be escorted to the U.S./Canada border in North Dakota. Now I have liked the majority of these X-Men movies (although I thought Apocalypse was extremely lackluster), but I have seldom loved them. They are usually competent, but there has always been something that has held me back, maybe it is just my lack of familiarity with the source material. I think that Logan is their best movie to date.
Jackman has come a long way playing this character.
Now this movie only exists due to one thing alone: the huge financial smash success that is Deadpool, although tonally, these two movies couldn’t be further apart (obviously). Sure, we have had R-rated comic book movies before, like Spawn, Blade and Kick-Ass, but their box office returns were peanut shells when compared to the Merc with a Mouth. Wolverine has always been a character that makes more sense to be rated R: he uses profanity all the time with a curmudgeonly attitude, and he has blades that come out of his hands. That has always been a problem for me with these movies: this character is slicing and dicing people up, and there is always little to no bloodshed, which, in a word, is nonsensical. With Logan, it gets graphically violent with dismemberment in a way that has never been done before in this entire series. In addition to that fixed problem, another issue on why I usually have a disconnect with this series is because there is just so many mutants, it is difficult to keep up with. They pulled way back on this, and so much more of this is focused on Wolverine, Professor X and this young girl, and it does nothing but enhance the pathos of the story.
And this little girl gets downright frightening, which was the right thing to do with the character.
Now Jackman has been playing Wolverine for almost two decades, and I know he’s got to be getting tired of playing this muscular character and eating whole chickens in the middle of the night for the protein needed to stay in such peak physical condition. I do believe this is finally it for Jackman and Stewart, even with the ability of time travel already brought into the mix previously. The story itself has teeth, and there are lots of Western tropes featured here which is something that I can personally appreciate, and there are even shots where Jackman looks like a ringer for Clint Eastwood. There is a real emotional charge to it, and the story does nothing but benefit. I really dug this movie more than I thought I would.
Logan (2017) ****
– Critic for Hire