‘Logan’ Takes No Prisoners in Jackman’s Epic Finale
Back in 2009, it was difficult to fathom the final outing with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. After all, coming off the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine was one of the darkest days for the now 17-year-old franchise. Fortunately, times have changed, claws have sharpened and Logan is by far the Wolverine film we’ve been waiting patiently for.
Set in 2029, everything has gone to hell. Mutants are a dying breed – their adventures practically left to age-old comic books. Pushing close to 200 years old (and he still looks good for his age), Logan (Hugh Jackman) is beginning to slow down as the adamantium-clawed superhero. The days of tangling with Magneto and other supervillains are over. Instead, Logan finds himself as a chauffeur and transporting drugs south of the border.
In Mexico, he cares for his old professor, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who’s losing his grip with reality to dementia. The greatest intellect among mutants has sadly fallen from grace in his old age. Shacking up with the albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), the trio attempt to survive given the post-apocalyptic circumstances. Logan is brought back into the fold when a nurse asks him to take care of a young girl (Dafne Keen), who shockingly has similar powers.
The X-Men franchise has been a roller coaster in terms of quality. From genre standards such as X2, Deadpool and Days of Future Past to failures like Origins and The Last Stand, the only guarantee is it playing like a standard superhero film. If it wasn’t for Logan unsheathing his adamantium claws and Xavier’s occasional neurological breakdowns, one would almost forget that we’re watching a superhero film. It’s like no X-Men movie that’s come before. Logan’s uniqueness isn’t a bad thing either, especially when we’re sitting ourselves in front of six to seven Marvel or DC films per year now. You need to be different to make an impact.
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With an incredibly dark road ahead, Logan spends much of its lengthy 137 minutes as a bleak road trip from Mexico to the Canadian border. The screenplay, written by Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green, feels quite start and stop on the road to the mutant haven. The first third and the finale benefit the most from an action-oriented screenplay, dependent on Western-inspired set pieces (think 1953’s Shane) more than anything else. The middle however, attempts to develop an unlikely bond between Logan and the young mutant, Laura. After 17 years, we fully aware that Logan’s hardly father figure material and continues to carry over here. Despite the film’s hardened shell, it successfully blends in this sentimental subplot.
Jackman has owned the role for 17 years and director James Mangold has given him a send-off we’re not going to forget anytime soon. Logan’s a film that takes no prisoners, finally allowing Wolverine to shed his PG-13 constraints. His kills should be rivaling those of Freddy Krueger albeit without the horror cheese that follows. Ratings have soften the caged animal over the years. It’s understandable that a PG-13 would draw in larger audiences. But tell that to last year’s Deadpool, who despite a well-deserved R-rating blew the rest of the franchise of the box office waters.
Additionally, Logan has given audiences its best look at the character since X-Men and X2, even focusing more on the entire ensemble. Mangold’s own The Wolverine attempted to examine the superhero’s struggle with immortality back in 2013. Still, Logan’s the thrilling, gripping installment that drives home what this character is all about.
Logan is a fitting end for the iconic character, who truly make his last stand. Whatever that film in 2006 was, clearly wasn’t despite the title. From day one, Jackman’s been there – blood, sweat and claws. Too bad, it took until his bittersweet swan song to finally get his due.