Hugh Jackman is back for one final round as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise!
Logan is the tenth film in the X-Men cinematic universe and the sequel to 2013’s The Wolverine (we will pretend that X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn’t exist for now). Unlike The Wolverine, however, this film is rated R, meaning that fans may finally get to see Wolverine in his true, unfiltered form. With The Wolverine’s James Mangold returning to direct, as well as with the new adult rating, will Wolverine finally get the proper cinematic treatment that he deserves?
It has been countless years since the mass majority of mutants have been decimated, and we get the sense that much has happened since the last film. One of the few remaining mutants is Logan, a.k.a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Broken, occasionally drunk, and past-his prime, he keeps a low profile as a limo driver, while also caring for the frail Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). While on a job, Logan is asked by a woman to take her and a little girl, Laura, to a location in North Dakota called “Eden.” Unfortunately, the woman is murdered by a gang called the Reavers, led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Laura follows Logan back to his hideout, and reveals herself to be his daughter, as well as a mutant. With the Reavers on their tail, Logan and Xavier set out to protect Laura and get her to “Eden,” where other young mutants are in hiding.
This is unlike any X-Men film we have seen so far, because Logan takes the form of a road trip crossed with a western. Director Mangold and cinematographer John Mathieson add to the bleak tone of the story by putting an emphasis on the color beige, which was also done by Denis Villeneuve in Sicario. As more details about the story are unraveled, the colors start to become more vibrant, making for a beautiful looking film.
As you would expect, Hugh Jackman is nothing short of excellent as Logan/Wolverine, and his performance is elevated by the character’s age factor. He is emotionally broken and suffering from despair, but, as Wolverine, has not lost an ounce of rage. In addition to Jackman, Patrick Stewart is equally excellent reprising his role as Xavier. Despite their characters’ lost sense of hope, they play off of each other well and add the little bits of humor needed to balance the negative tone. This negativity is also countered by the appearance of actual X-Men comic books, featuring Wolverine in his classic yellow suit. In a world that is deprived of hope, there is a desperate need for heroes, even the X-Men.
Making her feature film debut is Dafne Keen, who plays Laura and seems to have a bright career ahead of her. Displaying an effective thousand-yard stare through most of the film, she is just as intense as Jackman, both in action and in dialogue scenes, and the two work off each other well. The only flaw in the film is that the villain, while not awful, is forgettable, but this is common in most films made by Marvel. It almost seems as if the producers are afraid of villains upstaging the heroes, but it is possible for both to be interesting. Forget about the heroes, what we really need is another Hans Gruber!
Last year, Deadpool proved to studios that an R-rated superhero films could be popular with audiences and be profitable. In Logan, Jackman’s character is perfected, and part of this is due to the profanity and violence that earned Logan an R rating. The opening shot of the film shows Logan lying down in a car and dropping the F bomb. The filmmakers clearly knew what their audience wanted and didn’t want to make them wait. And the action in this film is not only violent, but it is hands down barbaric. We see Wolverine’s claws take off limbs, blood is splattered generously, and there is even a scene of Laura tossing a decapitated minion’s head to the villain. Now that is something!
Logan is a grand addition into the X-Men franchise, as well as serving as the standalone Wolverine film fans have been waiting for. The film is well acted, has some fantastically brutal action scenes, and the finale, without spoiling anything, will leave you satisfied, if not breathless. If this truly is Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine, it is one that will be hard to forget. Bravo!
Logan opens in theaters everywhere March 3rd!