As one of the most anticipated films of 2017, and the expected final “X-Men” films for both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, “Logan” had a lot to live up to as the conclusion to the story of the most popular X-Man, the Wolverine. Embracing the same R-rating that
“Deadpool” proved can work well in the comic book and superhero film genres last year, “Logan” not only lives up to the hefty expectations set upon it but also brings a fitting end to the Wolverine legacy in what is, to put it bluntly, one of the greatest superhero films of all time.
Set in 2029 and inspired by the “Old Man Logan” comic, the movie finds Logan, the Wolverine played by Jackman for the ninth time in his career, past his prime and suffering from the deterioration of his healing factor, thus sustaining more permanent injuries from any incidents he is involved in, as well as facing poisoning from the adamantium on his bones that has begun to cripple him with constant physical pain. Broken from his past and trying to find a way to leave the world behind while also caring for his aged and decrepit father figure Professor Xavier, played once again by Patrick Stewart, Logan once again finds himself a reluctant hero when he unwillingly becomes the caretaker of a young mutant girl named Laura with powers similar to his own, portrayed by talented newcomer Dafne Keen. With a powerful corporation sending its best to capture the girl, Logan, Xavier, and Laura go on the run in hopes of finding a rumored safe haven for remaining mutants in a world where mutants have all but died out. Along the way Logan comes face to face with new enemies, past demons, and the very real possibility of his own mortality.
To put it simply “Logan” doesn’t hold back in almost any conceivable way. With its hard R-rating fans will be happy to know we finally get the full-fledged foul-mouthed and violent Wolverine we’ve waited to see for so many years on the big screen and oh is it sweet! Hugh Jackman has had years to embrace and perfect the Wolverine character and we see every minute of that preparation and character building come into play here, from the softhearted tough guy to the violent beast that the Wolverine is known to be. There’s a clear sense of frustration and even hopelessness in the character as he understands he is one of the last of his kind and living in a world where not only is he unwelcome, but he doesn’t fit in and as the story progresses we see years of bad memories and violence culminate into a very human character. All you want to see is Wolverine have his peace, but once again he finds himself forced into a situation where he has to be the hero he doesn’t even seem to believe he deserves to be.
Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen put in some tremendous performances as well. Stewart gets to drop a few f-bombs of his own and we see him also portray a broken man in his own right, although Xavier’s demons are more due to events we later learn occurred off screen. Keen holds her own with her larger-than-life co-stars as Laura (also known as X-23) and brings attitude and even a few scene stealing moments that makes her the perfect successor to Jackman’s Wolverine, both literally and characteristically considering her mutant powers are literally born from the Wolverine. I have to say Keen is insanely gifted and says so much with so little for her character for over half the movie and even when she finally does talk she nearly steals the show with her straight-forward and rather mature approach to the relationship Laura has with Logan. We also see Logan’s father-son-like adoration and bond with Professor Xavier and the chemistry between Stewart and Jackman is top notch, perfectly reflective of a pair of long-time costars who are each working to do justice to their roles one final time.
It needs to be said this is not you’re average family friendly Marvel film. This is a dark, gritty, and brutal film about survival and mortality that holds nothing back. There are no colorful costumed crusaders here. The film is squarely centered in a more realistic and grounded approach to telling a story about a man who, possibly for the first time is truly facing the potential of death after multiple lifetimes of watching his loved ones die and those around him get hurt. Logan has lived through a lot, even beyond his adventures in the previous films, and has seen his share of depressing and heartbreaking moments. What’s both tragic and beautiful about this final outing of the clawed mutant is we finally see him have to face the reality of his choices and how he has lived his life while accepting his own inevitable end now that his healing factor is failing him. With that in mind, “Logan” is not only an exceptional superhero film, it’s a film that transcends its genre and presents us with a man we can relate to and one we all hope we can strive to be as Logan has one more chance to redeem himself for a past he struggles to accept.
Violent, uncompromising, unapologetic, tearjerking, pick your cliché, “Logan” sets a new standard for what a superhero or comic book film can be. For everything “Deadpool” did to justify and legitimize violence and vulgarity for comedic effect in a superhero film in 2016, “Logan” uses those same elements to create a gritty, fun, and emotional ride as we see the end to one of the genre’s most beloved character stories unfold. A fitting finale to the Wolverine legacy, “Logan” is truly a masterpiece in its own right and is by far the greatest film to come from the X-Men universe since the first film redefined what a superhero movie could be so many years ago.