Logan Movie Review
When Hugh Jackman took hold of the Wolverine claws back in 2000, I can imagine he had no idea that he would, figuratively, turn into the Wolverine. One doesn’t come without the other anymore. Jackman’s performance as the Wolverine has spanned across 17 years and nine different movies, some of them were fantastic (X-2, Days of Future Past), while some the general public wasn’t as impressed (The Last Stand, X-Men Origins).
Logan, directed by James Mangold, marks Jackman’s last time wearing the claws and I’m happy to say; he goes out with a bang. A very violent, dark, rated-R bang.
The movie centers on an aging, beaten down Logan. And when I say beaten down, I mean it. He is having trouble healing; he walks with a limp, he speaks in between coughing fits, and wears glasses because his eyesight is starting to go. We are thrust into a future where mutants are a thing of the past. Alongside Logan is a severely ailing Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X. Logan takes care of Professor X while making a living as a chauffeur. Their secluded lives on the border of Mexico are interrupted when a young mutant named Laura shows up. Laura possesses the very same powers as Logan, i.e. the claws, healing, etc. Logan and Xavier come to work together to protect Laura from dark forces, despite their ailments and personal woes.
Logan does not feel like an X-Men movie, something the trailers made abundantly clear. It is heavy on the violence, vulgar language, and dark undertones. Often the X-Men franchise leans towards superhero clichés such as, extravagant battle scenes, corny one-liners, and big team ups. Logan does not. The stakes are very real, the emotion is painfully felt, and no line is thrown away. As a character, Logan has always been a pessimistic, dark soul of sorts. But he was surrounded by optimism with the other X-Men. In this film, he is only surrounded by darkness. Even Professor X has lost his light touch.
Hugh Jackman’s final go around as Logan has proven to be his best. He has spent 17 years molding this character and in this film, it all comes unhinged. He doesn’t have the other X-Men to bring him back from the ledge. Logan is pissed off, he is riddled with guilt, and he is, most of all, tired. Jackman is able to portray all of these devastating emotions brilliantly while still kicking some major butt. Dafne Keen, the young girl who plays Laura, is an absolute star. She rarely speaks and yet she steals every scene she’s in. Think Eleven from Stranger Things but Hispanic and with claws. Patrick Stewart puts in my favorite performance of his as Professor X. He is funny, heartbreaking, and unequivocally good. This was the best mashup of young McAvoy-esque Professor X and elder Stewart-esque Professor X I’ve witnessed.
The action scenes are phenomenal. When it was announced that this movie would be rated R, many fans believed they would finally be getting the violent Wolverine depicted in the comics. The past X-Men movies have shied away from showing the carnage Wolverine is capable of. Once again, Logan does not. There is an enormous amount of carnage from not only Logan, but from Laura as well.
The humor is the most organic humor I’ve seen in a superhero film. The funny moments don’t stem from ridiculous one-liners in sticky situations, it stems from the complicated relationships between Logan, Laura, and Professor X.
A great performance comes from the ability to completely transform into the character the actor is playing. So much so, the actor almost becomes unrecognizable. In real life, Hugh Jackman is a positive, gentle Australian soul but once he puts on those claws, he transforms into the angry, self-loathing but ultimately heroic Wolverine. Hugh Jackman IS the Wolverine. And if Logan really is the last we’re going to see of him, I am elated that his last venture is as amazing as this film is.
Logan opens in theaters on March 3rd.