It’s really been seventeen years, hasn’t it?
Since 2000, 20th Century Fox has been creating a cinematic universe for one of Marvel’s most well-known teams: the X-Men. Over the course of seventeen years and nine films (some better than others), fans of the characters have followed their adventures on the silver screen. The character that has arguably captivated everyone the most, however, was Wolverine (alternatively known as “Logan”). He appeared in eight of those nine films, played by Australian actor Hugh Jackman. Nowadays, he’s become so intertwined with the role that most of us can’t imagine anyone else portraying it. So when Jackman announced Logan would be his last film as Wolverine, fans were certainly surprised. We also began to hope that the movie would be the best way to end the character’s story. Thankfully, we were correct.
The plot of Logan follows Jackman’s titular character, who at the beginning of the film is working as a limousine driver in the year 2029. By that time, most of mutantkind has gone extinct, leaving Logan (and a few others) as the last members of the species. He is living with an aging Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from a brain disease that causes dangerous psychic seizures, as well as Caliban (Stephen Merchant), an albino who possesses the ability to track down other mutants. Early on, we see how the past few years have changed Logan. He’s aged and lost his healing factor because his adamantium skeleton has begun poisoning him, and has become much more brutal when he’s confronted with violence.
The story truly begins when he meets Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a nurse that had been working for the genetics company Transigen. She asks for Logan to transport her and her daughter Laura (Dafne Keen) to a place in North Dakota known as “Eden”. After Gabriela is killed by Transigen’s elite soldiers (known as The Reavers), Logan and Xavier learn that Laura is actually a genetic clone of Wolverine (code-named X-23), grown by Transigen in an attempt to create an army of super-soldiers. When the Reavers attack Logan’s home, he, Xavier and Laura are forced to flee.
From here, the movie follows the long road trip to Eden, as well as the relationships between the three main characters. The latter is where the film truly shines. The existing chemistry between Jackman and Stewart contributes a lot to this, as the two have had four prior films together to build the relationship between their characters. When we learn more about what happened to Xavier before the events of the film (referred to as the “Westchester Incident”), it produces some of the best scenes between them.
In addition, X-23 is a very well-written child character. She acts exactly like what I’d expect a child clone of Wolverine to be like: filled with rage and lacking respect for almost any kind of authority. I was especially impressed as to how she was able to give a convincing performance when she was almost mute for a majority of the film, only speaking in grunts or savage screeching (the latter appearing quite often in combat sequences). In the later scenes, they delve even more into her growing relationship with Logan. It resembles his “father-daughter” relationships with characters such as Kitty Pryde and Jubilee in the original comics, and it feels welcoming. Having a lone wolf character finally form a deep relationship with someone else is a natural progression.
As for the rest of the cast, Stephen Merchant’s Caliban is a highlight, as well as Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce. The main antagonist, however, doesn’t get enough of the screentime he needs to be truly reviled. While it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the film that much, it’s still somewhat bothersome. The progression of the story moves consistently throughout and doesn’t feel a single bit rushed. The action was where it needed to be, as was the more emotional moments. By the end, I felt that no scene was unnecessary, or at the very least no scene wasn’t enjoyable.
Logan also boasts some beautifully morbid action sequences.The film is rated R, and the creators made sure to not hold back a single bit of violence. A personal favorite of mine is a scene taking place during one of Xavier’s telepathic seizures, where Logan is forced to pull himself through the telepathic waves with his claws, brutally murdering the men trying to kill Xavier and Laura along the way. When the seizure ends, every man that was killed drops to the floor in tandem. Later scenes (especially ones where Logan and Laura are fighting side-by-side) are also extremely well-shot, making sure to show every single moment of gore in eye-popping detail. As for the soundtrack, it’s rather forgettable, but it does what it needs to do; match the action and tension of the film.
Logan does what it sets out to do quite well: it is a fitting conclusion to the story of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. The characters are well-written and often times morally complex, the action is well-shot and enjoyable, and the emotional moments are executed near-perfectly. While I can’t imagine anyone else taking on the character’s now-vacant mantle in the near future, I couldn’t have asked for a better way for Jackman to leave that mantle behind.