Hugh Jackman's swan song as The Wolverine
Logan stars Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in their final appearances as Wolverine and Professor X, respectively. It is directed by James Mangold, who also directed The Wolverine.
Set in 2029, mutants are all but extinct. A jaded Logan has aged, and his healing factor is progressively failing. The adamantium in his body is now poisoning him, and Logan is spending his remaining days working as a chauffeur and finding ways to get prescription drugs. He lives in a smelting plant with the albino mutant Caliban and a heavily unstable Charles Xavier. Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriela who asks Logan to take her and 11-year old Laura to a safe haven in North Dakota known as Eden. Logan is unwilling, but is forced back into action when Gabriela is killed and discovers that Laura is being hunted by the cybernetic Donald Pierce and his group of Reavers. Logan, Laura, and Xavier manage to escape the Reavers, and begin a long road trip to Eden.
It's amazing to think that Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for almost 20 years. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and that includes this incredible ride for Jackman. Logan is the emotional farewell that Jackman needs, and it's funny because it's about as anti a superhero film as you'll ever find. Nobody is dressing up in flashy costumes, and no one is giving famous catchphrases. Logan is bloody, gritty, and down-to-earth. If you ever wanted to get a graphic depiction of Wolverine driving his claws into another man's face, Logan will give you exactly that and more.
Logan's R-rating is a sure warning that this is no superhero flick that you can take your kids to. Wolverine is not here to save the day (okay, yes he does) like Superman. He finds himself caught up in a situation that he never asked for. Logan has grown cynical and is devoid of any sort of joy in life. He wants to waste his days away consuming alcohol and driving a limousine. Logan cares for Professor X, but largely because Professor X's chaotic seizures are something that he cannot ignore. This is no superhero. This is a broken man who just happens to have super powers. Just as Logan is drowning himself in his empty indulgences, a woman approaches him, asking a favor that he wants no part of. But when he sees that the quiet Laura has powers like his own, his world turns upside down.
- Dafne Keen as Laura. The titular Logan is the center of attention, but Dafne Keen really delivers a stand-out performance as the dual-clawed Laura. She slashes and kills in just as bloody of a fashion as Logan, and I found myself marveling at her the entire way. She also has that intimidating look in her eye that is convincing enough on its own.
- The dramatic aspect of the film. Aside from the brutal, bloody violence, Logan transcends usual comic-book expectations because of the dramatic highlights of its characters. Logan's previous life is no more. He wants to be left alone from the outside world, and is accepting to the fact that his days are numbered. Laura has no dialogue for the first half of the film, simply observing and listening to everything around her. Charles Xavier is frail and senile, but still cares for Logan and Laura in the way he used to care for the mutants at his school. Logan even downplays what happens in the X-Men comics that Laura reads in the film.
- The villains in the film are not quite as strong as I had hoped them to be. In a film that's as no holds barred as this one, neither Donald Pierce nor the Reavers are as sadistic or menacing as the film has opened the door for them to be. They want to capture Laura for typical bad-guy reasons that usually involve getting wealthy or gaining power. In this case, it involves experimentation with child mutants in a way that is highly similar to the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Logan is a dramatic and exciting send-off for Hugh Jackman in his final appearance as the Wolverine. Dafne Keen, though, really steals the show as Laura, with Patrick Stewart making Professor X's appearance also worthwhile. Issues with the villains do linger a little, but the film still brings the gruesome and high-octane action and emotional depth that makes it a very unique addition to the X-Men franchise, and to the superhero/comic-book genre as well. Godspeed Mr. Jackman, and I wish you well in your future endeavors.
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