So here we go. The final Wolverine movie, or at least the ones that star Hugh Jackman in the main role. For his send-off performance, the writers could not have picked a better story to tell. What is at its core the Old Man Logan story combined with the origins of X-23 is a perfect choice. Instead of a blood driven romp through some silly military thing, we get a heartfelt story about Logan’s redemption and restoration of his humanity through his relationship with his daughter/clone Laura.
Production company: Marvel Entertainment, Kinberg Genre, Hutch Parker Entertainment & The Donners’ Company
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: James Mangold
Produced by: Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg & Lauren Shuler Donner
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant & Dafne Keen
Based on: Wolverine & Old Man Logan by Marvel Comics
Release dates: March 3, 2017 (US) / March 3, 2017 (Australia)
Running time: 137 minutes
Rating: R (US) / MA15+ (Australia)
The year is 2029 and mutant kind is pretty much extinct. A very aged James Howlett is a chauffeur in Texas. He spends his nights driving rich and often drunk people around in order to pay for special drugs that keep Charles Xavier in a calm mental state as Charles’ powers are out of control (There’s a sub plot about Xavier causing a huge psychic event in Westchester that killed 600 people and most of the X-Men). Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriel who wants him to take her and her daughter Laura to a mutant paradise called Eden which is just across the American/Canadian border. However, Donald Pierce, working on behalf of scientific research and weapons development company Transigen, tracks down Gabriel and kills her, leaving Logan with Laura to finish his promise to get Laura to Eden. Along the way, they are hunted by Donald Pierce and The Reavers, along with a full clone of Wolverine (Codename: X-24).
During the adventure, Charles tries to get Logan to understand that there is more to life than the self-inflicted punishment he had lived with and to try and embrace Laura as his actual daughter. Eventually, X-24 catches up with the group, killing Charles Xavier. Logan and Laura are able to escape but run into more trouble when Logan’s Adamantium bones, which have been poisoning him throughout the movie, cause Logan to collapse.
Laura takes over the driving, bringing the two to Eden where a bunch of Laura’s Project X-23 friends are waiting. The group then begin their trek to Canada but are forced into a final fight with The Reavers and X-24. The kids are eventually captured, leaving Logan to take on X-24 one more time, the fight ending with Logan’s death. Laura buries Logan and heads off to her new life with the rest of the kids.
Logan is full of amazing performances. Wolverine himself is still as gruff and self-hating as ever, the weight of his own sins catching up to him. He’s also poisoned by the metal grafted to his bones, making things a lot harder for him. As an actor, Hugh Jackman shows the experience of over a decade of playing the character. When he needs to jump into action as a rabid animal, you can really feel the rage coming through the screen. However, it’s the softer scenes in the third act with Laura (Dafne Keen) that really show his range with emotion. A great performance.
Charles Xavier is basically driven mad through the loss of control of his powers. Patrick Stewart plays this to perfection. When he needs to be the wise sage of previous movies, he works it to perfection. When he is needed to be a ranting lunatic, he plays that well too. He doesn’t go over the top for laughs like most would but holds the mental conditions to the reverence and seriousness they require. When he does get killed by X-24, you really buy into it to the point where I could hear people crying in their seats.
Laura, or X-23, is probably the worst written character in the movie. For most of the movie, she is silent, only nodding to show she understands or likes something. When she does start speaking, she does this weird mix of Spanish and English, which is really off-putting. When she goes into a rage, she equals Hugh and his performance in the fact that you can really feel the rage in her fights. Dafne Keen does what she can with a role that gives her very little to work with.
Outside of the main three, there’s not much more to talk about performance wise. Everyone does their roles really well and nothing is done in a non-serious fashion. The gravity of the scenes is amplified by everyone’s performance. This movie is not your usual X-Men fare, this is a post-Deadpool X-Men movie that Fox really used their notes from Deadpool for.
Logan is a road trip movie with fight scenes. However, this doesn’t make it a boring movie at all. Everything is well paced and well acted, leading to a movie that really holds up as a great final chapter to the Wolverine movie saga. The stand out here is the language and violence. Fox took a lot of notes from Deadpool and really let things off the leash. I think Hugh Jackman himself said the word “fuck” or some variation of the word about 60 or so times. Even Patrick Stewart gets in on the language fest too, something I would never have expected. The term “Fuck you Logan” from Charles Xavier really took me off guard as I would never think I could imagine any member of the X-Men Universe outside of Deadpool swearing so much.
Another thing that is taken from Deadpool is the level of blood and gore that is shown. Decapitations, claws shoved through skulls, deep cuts and even a half head shotgun blast are all shown clearly for all to see. Logan is not the usual type of Wolverine or X-Men film that people are used to, so expect a lot of complaints about it to come out from parents who didn’t learn their lesson from taking their kids to see Deadpool.
If there was anything negative to say about Logan it’s that the Laura character is very under developed and is more of a “key to Logan’s humanity” McGuffin rather than a real character. She does have some good moments with both Logan and Xavier, but she is just so dull and boring through most of the movie. It’s this one small thing that ruins an otherwise great movie. There was also some disappointment from movie goers with there not being a post-credits sequence or stinger as is tradition, but given the subject matter, it’s an acceptable loss.
As a final chapter, Logan is one of the best finales ever written and acted. Everyone plays their part extremely well. Couple this with a story that is both action packed as well as emotional, and you have perfection in movie form. While it’s nothing compared to stories like Wolverine: The End and the actual Old Man Logan mini series, taking bits and pieces from Old Man Logan and the origins of X-23 make for something that everyone from hardcore fans to the casual fans can enjoy.
A Fitting Farewell
Logan is a movie that is going to have everyone thrilled from beginning to end. Sure, the language and violence is not the same as previous films, but you couldn’t have a final chapter without letting Wolverine loose and have Hugh Jackman do whatever he wanted. It’s a shame that this is the end for Hugh as Logan, because if you combined Logan with Deadpool, you’d have a record setting movie.