Everybody knows that Wolverine is the best member in the X-Men. When your special abilities are a regenerative healing factor and being hairier than a crate of Furbies, shooting lasers out of your eyeballs and charging up playing cards with energy loses its charm pretty fast.
Sadly, the film industry has always held Wolverine back from what he does best - that being cutting up people and having an attitude that is about as welcoming as a rattlesnake that has had its tail stepped on. In trying to cater themselves to a wide audience by toning down the violence, language, and overall rage that makes the character who he is, Wolverine movies (and to some extent, X-Men movies) have always fallen short of delivering an all-out faithful portrayal of the most popular mutant in Professor X's orphanage of special children.It only makes sense then that Hugh Jackman's final stint as the mutant Canadian that made him famous should be nothing less than the Wolverine film everyone always hoped for.
Logan is nothing like his previous movies. Set in a not-too-distant, mutant-free future, we catch up with a Wolverine who has long since dropped his moniker and motivation to turn living things into non-living things.
Going by his real name, James Howlett (don't say this article never taught you anything) now spends his time as a limo driver in order to save up enough money for a boat as well as medication for a now senile Charles Xavier.Things are going mostly according to plan until a crazy Mexican lady drops a mutated girl called Laura into their care. This makes both Logan and Charles reluctant babysitters as they make their way to North Dakota with a bunch of muscle-bound beefcakes on their tail.
The story told is dark, sad, and as bloody as a slaughterhouse before Thanksgiving, but it never overindulges in violence without providing a good enough reason to include it.
Most of the cringe-worthy scenes come from two of the main characters. While Logan's segments take a closer look at how his powers are slowly deteriorating (resulting in more injuries that refuse to heal), Laura's screen time involves a lot more dislocations of enemy limbs and her really short temper.
You can see the vast differences in their combat styles - Logan's being more slow and predictable while Laura's being fluid and more like a gymnast's movements. This isn't a film that splatters blood every chance it gets; it uses it to add weight to the scenes that need it.
The movie isn't just about human's insides becoming outsides, though. In the midst of all the combat and people literally losing and arm and a leg stands one of the most human stories ever told about superhumans.
Hugh Jackman takes on the role of the seemingly-immortal mutant for the last time, but his portrayal of Wolverine is unlike any that viewers have seen before. What was once an unstable, tank top-wearing macho man with sideburns that could poke an eye out has been replaced by a cynical drunk who has seen far too much for a number of human lifetimes (and he's sporting a hobo-looking beard, to boot).When you see Logan turn away people in need and nurse himself with a bottle of whiskey instead, you get the sense that he has seen one too many people die under his care that isolating himself would be the better option.Ã
The same can be said for Patrick Stewart's curtain call on Charles Xavier. After serving as a father figure and mentor for so many films, seeing Professor X crazily ramble about offers in Taco Bell like any old man is a sad sight on its own.
We already know that these two veteran actors can hold their own, but it's the third and youngest protagonist in Logan that helps elevate this movie from all the other crap that preceded it. Dafne Keen's performance as Laura made me realize that I should have done more with my life when I was younger than shove sand in my pants.
Her ability to project Wolverine's younger, more pissed-off attitude in X-23 without uttering a single word is enough to make your hair stand on end in anticipation that she could lose her shit at any given moment. That, coupled with the ability to revert back to her eleven-year-old self and provide some of the most heartfelt moments in the movie, makes you see that it is Laura who brings out the more redeeming qualities of the older, more desensitized mutants.Charles Xavier starts to show some of the wisdom that he was known for many years ago. He becomes less scatter-brained and more focused with getting all three of them to where they need to go, serving as a guide for both Laura and Logan.
And it is with Logan that Laura makes her strongest connection. In having the same powers, both understand the pain that the other had to go through to become the monster everyone claims them to be; the only difference is in experience. While Logan imparts some of life's toughest lessons in being a killing machine (such as murder and restraint), Laura in turn reminds him that there is more to life when it is lived with others.This reflects the two extremes that the movie shifts between: extreme violence and the longing for love. While fans of Wolverine will like the film because they finally get to see his claws go through the skull of something living, Logan makes it a point to show that underneath that metal skeleton is someone looking for peace yet is constantly denied it.Ã
If there is anything bad about the film, it's the antagonists. Serving as nothing more than hurdles to overcome, both Donald Pierce (the leader of the enemy beefcakes who looks like a modern day prospector) and Zander Rice (your typical evil doctor sans a maniacal laugh) have pretty singular motives when it comes to capturing Laura. With all the trouble that the heroes are already in, these two villains resemble nothing more than Team Rocket in a typical PokÃÂ©mon episode, constantly appearing at the worst possible time.
Apart from this, some of the music in the film just doesn't fit the scenes they are used in. After one character's emotional death, rock music started blaring out of the speakers, completely ruining the mood. This is evident even during the final scene of the movie, which is supposed to be grim but is followed by one of the happiest-sounding end credits songs I have ever heard.
Despite these small issues, Logan is the film fans have wanted from the start. It's loyal to the source material, original enough to stand on its own without watching the films that came before it (something that is sorely needed), and a fitting end to a character who has been reduced to his quite sturdy tank top for almost 20 years.Oh, and there isn't anything waiting for you after the end credits roll. Just FYI.