Logan Review #2: Hugh Jackman Delivers One Heck of a Goodbye
Ever since the comic book movie genre really kicked off in the early 2000s, we have had three different actors play Spider-Man, two different guys playing Batman and a few who have played Superman. But for the better part of two decades, there has been one and only one Wolverine. Now, after all of that time, Hugh Jackman is saying goodbye to his iconic role with Logan, his final turn as the beloved mutant. As sad as it may be to see him go, Logan serves as a love letter to X-Men fans everywhere and is truly a perfect way to say goodbye.
Fox's Logan takes place in the near future of 2029 and sees an old, ailing, retired Wolverine simply trying to make his way in the world and take care of Charles Xavier, who is also suffering and isn't what he once was. It is a dark time for mutants as their kind seems to be going extinct. But all of that changes when a young, new mutant named Laura comes into Logan and Charles' life. Now, they must go on the run and try to protect from some very bad and mysterious men.
Director James Mangold and the entire creative team behind Logan pulled absolutely no punches with this movie. Knowing that this was going to be Hugh Jackman's last turn as Wolverine, they didn't want to leave anything on the table. It is pretty safe to say they accomplished that goal. With that said, they did have to sort of step outside the established, but very messy X-Men movie timeline in order to do so. At the end of the day, that doesn't really matter, because fans are ultimately treated to the Wolverine movie they have been waiting for and the movie they deserve. They make very good use of everything they have at their disposal, including the R-rating. Lots of cursing. Lots of blood.
I would hesitate to even call Logan a superhero movie, because it really isn't. While it is most certainly a comic book movie, this is the kind of movie that proves just how much can be done in the genre without having to resort to senseless destruction of cities and convoluted, needlessly confusing storylines. Hugh Jackman's final gift to longtime fans is a very personal, intimate, character-driven action movie that is touching and beautifully made, as well as incredibly effective and entertaining. It is hard to compare it to anything that has come before in terms of comic book adaptations, especially in the X-Men universe. It is unbelievably fresh and that is pretty impressive when you consider that he has played the character in eight movies (and one small cameo appearance). He and James Mangold have not only sent Wolverine out in style, but they have provided a roadmap for others to follow. They have proved you can do something different in the world of comic book movies and make it work.
One of the purest delights of Logan is getting to see Patrick Stewart return as Professor X alongside Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, knowing full well it will very likely be the last time we see both of them on screen in that capacity. At times in the X-Men movies, it has been easy to forget just how fortunate we were to have an actor like Patrick Stewart in that role, but he makes that impossible to forget in Logan, easily turning in his best yet in the franchise. Hugh Jackman does the same, which has a lot to do with the fact that we are seeing a very different and very vulnerable version of the character. It is truly compelling and something that will leave a lasting mark. There are at least a couple of moments where die-hard fans may need to look over at their friends and have the, "I'm not crying, you're crying" moment.
The rest of the cast also deserves a lot of praise as the movie really turns out to be a great ensemble piece. Stephen Merchant is great as Caliban, even if his character is maybe a tiny bit underused, but that is a very small gripe. Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant both do a fine job as the villains in Logan, even if they aren't the most beautifully developed and physically menacing villains we have ever seen, but they suit this movie perfectly. The real standout, though, is newcomer Dafne Keen, who plays Laura, aka the mutant X-23, who is basically a female version of Wolverine. She is absolutely outstanding and if what she does in Logan is any indication, she will have a very long and promising career ahead of her.
There are few characters in the world of comic books that are more iconic than Wolverine. Thanks to Hugh Jackman, he is now one of the most iconic characters in the world of movies as well. Sure, in the comics he is short and wears a yellow costume, but even without the yellow costume and even though he is very tall and may not fit the bill in terms of what fans would have originally pictured, there is no doubt that he is Wolverine. From now until the end of time, he is who we will picture when the word "Wolverine" is uttered aloud. Before Logan, it would have been damn hard to imagine anyone else ever taking on the role in a future movie, which will surely happen someday, but now, it will be near impossible. I do not envy the man who has to try and fill those shoes when that day comes. Logan is Hugh Jackman's way of saying, "You're welcome" and "Thank you" all at the same time. To him, I say thanks, bub.