For 17 years, Hugh Jackman has played the popular character of Logan/Wolverine for the 10 films in the “X-Men” franchise. This marks the longest span that an actor has portrayed a single character in the superhero movie genre. Not wanting the character to lose his magic, Jackman and director James Mangold (“The Wolverine”) chose to make one final film to give the character a much deserved send off. Thankfully, fans who’ve been patiently waiting for a more brutal take on the character finally get the R-rated film they’ve been wanting that also has strong emotional weight.
Set in the year 2029, the X-Men are dead and Mutants haven’t been born for over a decade. Logan, living on the Mexico border, struggles to take care of his mentor, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who suffers from dementia. Meanwhile, Logan’s slowly being poisoned by the adamantium metal within him and his healing powers are failing. Logan is then tasked with taking care of a mysterious mutant girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), who is on the run from a group of mercenaries. Reluctantly, he takes Laura and Xavier on a road trip to the Canadian border to get Laura to safety.
“Logan” is an emotionally draining film in the best way. Taking inspiration from films like “The Wrestler” and “Shane,” Mangold crafted a unique take for a comic book film. The film feels more like a modern western than it does a superhero film with its brutal and grounded tone. Rather than have Logan fight a bunch of CGI robots to save the world, Mangold told a simple story about redemption and family that just so happened to feature superpowers.
The action scenes are handled very well, easy to follow and tell a story. Such as the opening of the film with Logan fighting off a group of thugs that were trying to steal car parts from him. This tells us where Logan is, in terms of his rage and how rusty he has become. Plus, it’s just awesome to see Logan finally go full berserker mode where he shreds his opponents.
Jackman and Stewart are great as always. Both give heartbreaking performances where we see them at their lowest points. Keen also does a great job at letting her silence speak louder than any line of dialogue could. Jackman and Keen share some very powerful moments that are reminiscent of the video game “The Last of Us.”
The only thing that holds “Logan” back is the frustratingly convoluted timeline of the “X-Men” franchise. Despite the fact that Mangold has said that the events of “Logan” take place on its own timeline, the characters in the film still refer to events from the previous films. However, this issue isn’t this film’s fault.
“Logan” is easily one of the best comic book films of the past decade, and is the first comic book film since “The Dark Knight” that could be considered Oscar-worthy. With its emotionally driven direction and strong performances, viewers will be grateful, especially when it hits them that this is the last time that Jackman and Stewart will play these characters. It’s a film that will make even the most seasoned viewers tear up as Johnny Cash’s “A Man Comes Around” plays over the end credits.