Hard to believe the first X-Men movie came out in July of 2000. It’s been almost 17 years since Hugh Jackman first started as America’s favorite Anti-Hero Wolverine. But 17 years and 8 film appearances later and it is all over for Jackman, who stated this was the last time portraying the popular Marvel character on film.
As memorable as Jackman has been in the X-Men movies, the Wolverine solo movies have been a much different story. Wolverine: Origins was famously panned by everyone who saw the film (it was even poked fun at in 2016’s Deadpool). The 2013 film The Wolverine was much better in the eyes of audiences, but only a slightly above average overall. It is clear that if this was the last go for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, they had to go out with a bang so for the first time in this film series, Logan got a Rated R rating which meant F-bombs and claws to the faces galore. Will this make a good movie? Yes, but the ending will still make you sad when it is over.
Set in the year 2029, there are barely any living mutants remaining due to a virus created by the Transigen Project. Logan (Jackman) is still around but has aged greatly and is slowly dying due to the adamantium within his body poisoning him. This is also causing his healing factor to be significantly less effective as he cannot fully heal from major damage. Logan spends his days working as an Uber Black driver in Texas, drinking cheap bottles of booze, earning enough to get meds for Charles Xavier (Stewart), who has inadvertently killed several of his X-Men family in a seizure-induced psychic attack one year earlier.
Logan is found by Gabriela, a nurse for Transigen, who asks him to take her and a little girl named Laura (Keen), to a place in North Dakota called “Eden”. Logan refuses to accept the job, but after discovering that Gabriela has been murdered, he finds out that Transigen has been creating child mutants in a lab in an attempt to use them as weapons. As much as Logan protests, he has no choice but to fulfill one last mission to save the kids from the evil corporation responsible for taking out his kind.
If you are expecting a happy superhero movie where the good guys win at the end, you are going to the wrong film. The tone of this movie is very dark, bleak, and somewhat dismal. This isn’t the wisecracking bad ass Wolverine you are used to. The Wolverine in this film is a broken down old man who is literally in his final days. For those of you, comic book fans out there, the story of this movie takes elements from the comic book series ‘Old Man Logan’ which matches much of the film’s dark tone. Thanks to the R rating, Logan is able to take a more real world approach to the story and doesn’t hesitate to get gritty. It only takes a couple of minutes for Logan to slice up a few gang members in the gory fashion that fans have wanted to see for 17 years.
There is a strong message of family within the film. Laura is the ‘daughter’ of Wolverine as she was created with the same DNA. Using her character, the film embraces a daughter, father, and grandpa relationship with the main characters. A troubled family, of course, since Laura has never been alone in the outside world and doesn’t know how to react to people. There is also the problem that everyone in Logan’s life tends to die, but the real emotional tie here is with Xavier and Logan. This world not only represents the end of the mutants in society but the end of a relationship that we have witnessed for nearly 2 decades.
Dafne Keen, who plays Laura or if you are a comic fan X-23, steals the film in every scene she is in. Adorable and completely brutal at the same time, Laura represents the savageness and lack of humanity that Logan had when he first joined the team years ago. The story is one of the best and well written in the entire X-Men series. Unlike previous films, this one keeps it simple and the ‘less is more’ technique delivers the Wolverine film that we have wanted for over a decade and it is disappointing that we finally get it in the final installment. The ending is too dry for me and like the theme of the movie, isn’t a very happy one, but it is a welcome end to a 17-year chapter.
I’m not sure if Logan is for certain the last time we have seen Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart in the X-Men universe, especially if this film makes a boatload of cash. But if it is, both actors go out on an emotional high. Logan along with Deadpool have taken a much needed refreshing take on the Superhero film genre. Proving that you don’t have to do the same style of the Dark Knight or The Avengers to be successful.
Fox may not have much success in the realm of Superhero movies (in terms of quality) their Rated R contributions to the genre is garnering more optimism and positive reaction than anything coming from the world of Marvel and Warner Bros right now. Logan is a somber conclusion to the X-Men era, but hopefully a beginning of more good to come from Fox.