There are some roles which are so perfect for an actor; they become synonymous with that persona. Think Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, or Christopher Reeve as Superman. But there is no role as closely associated with actor & role than Hugh Jackman and Wolverine. Downey Jr. has been playing Stark for 9 years; Jackman has been reprising his role for 17 years! Reeve appeared as the Man of Steel on 4 occasions, for Jackman, he has 9 appearances under his belt. In what will most likely be his last act as Weapon X, he has saved the best, for last, as Logan hits the screens this month.
The Wolverine trilogy hasn’t exactly been anything special. Origins was panned by critics and fans alike. The second movie The Wolverine was a far better movie, but the final act pretty much ruined what was a decent film. Logan though, finally gives our hero the movie he deserves, a dark, gritty and violent interpretation. Following on from the success of the Rated R mercenary, Deadpool. Logan also embraces the classification, and it works like a charm! This movie works more in the same vibe as Jessica Jones & Daredevil, than it does with the mainstream MCU movies.
The X-Men franchise is mighty complicated; the consequence of Days of Future Past resulted in the possibility of split timelines, so it can be hard to keep up with what’s occurring. In this timeline, Logan (Jackman) has retreated over the Mexican border, caring for an elderly and senile Charles Xavier (Stewert), with the help of one of the last remaining mutants, Caliban (Merchant). It’s the year 2029, and the numbers of mutants are down to near extinction, and the X-Men are all dead, barring our rugged anti-hero. A deteriorating Xavier now suffers seizures which cause mass chaos; Logan now runs errands to save up enough money to live out their lives in peace, on a luxury yacht, out in the isolation of the ocean. These plans are thrown out the window after the sudden appearance of Laura (Keen), a young mutant possessing a familiar set of abilities.
The X-Men franchise has always been a bit timid when it comes to the violence on display, especially with a character like Logan. This film pretty much off the bat sets the tone for the movie, it’s violent, it’s bloody, and this is most certainly not a movie for the kids, maybe even some teens! Limbs go flying off; even the odd head gets decapitated. Though the violence isn’t done for the sake of the R rating, this is how Wolverine should be, considering his main weapons are a set of razor sharp claws! The fighting here is brutal, Logan isn’t in his peak, this isn’t the cocky, young Wolverine from X-2, and this is a beaten down, battle weary, alcoholic Logan. His healing factor isn’t working as efficiently as it used to, and his adamantium skeleton in having an adverse effect on his body. This gives Logan a far more vulnerable character, being invincible in his previous movies took away that drama, as you knew he would pretty much survive anything thrown at him. His mental and physical vulnerabilities gives us a far for interesting character to follow.
The film’s 3 acts are pretty distinctive. The opening and closing act is all out action, swearing and gore. It’s the middle act where the film really develops its own personality. The focus of this film is on family. Logan is down to his last connection, Xavier. Everyone else is dead. Xavier isn’t the polished, well-spoken mastermind of previous films, he is sick and delirious. The father-son interactions between the two are insightful and beautiful. Both actors really impressing with their outstanding acting abilities. Logan also gets to develop a father-daughter bond that he never got to experience, with the introduction of Laura/X-23 into the fold. As the film progresses, their relationship blossoms, and finally gives Logan a true reason to live. That aside, they both make a kickass combination when they team up to attack!
Director James Mangold takes his inspiration from the Old Man Logan comic books, and manages to interpret it well onto the big screen, Mangold was in charge of The Wolverine too, whereas The Wolverine was a warm up, he most certainly goes the whole distance in Logan. Violence is a key element of the Wolverine character, and it’s implemented well here. The final scenes involving a pumped up Wolverine serves as a nice finale to his rage fueled chronicles, and one last time to see Jackson go all out attack!
Where the film does drop a bit is in the predictability, all the major plot lines are pretty straight forward, and when they do happen, it’s as expected. It also leaves a few things open. Such as where is Magneto is all of this? Surely his too powerful to simply die of like the other X-Men, and with his great friend in such dire straits, it wouldn’t be a surprise to have him involved somehow. But I suppose they wanted to keep the movie all about the central 3, and it doesn’t really hurt the movie much, but it does make you wonder! Also, the main villains (Dr Zander Rice & Pierce), never provide much of a threat; essentially they are just there to give the plot some direction. The middle act can feel a bit dialogue intense, the action slows down to a walking pace, and it does add on a bit of filler on the already extended 2hr 20 running time.
Is it the best superhero movie ever? As some are claiming it to be? Well personally the film is abit to miserable for a superhero movie, personally I would put The Winter Soldier above it, but that’s just my opinion. It’s still a majestic piece of art, and you’ll for sure feel emotional at times, and valiant send off for this literation of Wolverine.