After 17 years of playing Wolverine, Hugh Jackman has finally hung up his claws but Logan is an incredible send-off for the character who was the backbone of Fox’s X-Men franchise.
Picking up in 2029, an older Logan is working as a limo driver along the Mexican border while hiding an elderly Charles Xavier, who is suffering from a degenerative brain disease which caused a massive psychic event a year prior to the movie and needs to be kept medicated, and the results of not doing so are revealed in some terrific and horrifying twists on the “Charles freezes everyone” sequences. Along with Charles, Logan is also living with one of the only other remaining mutants, Caliban, who can track mutants but cannot go into the sun. Logan’s depressing life is shaken by a young girl named Laura, who is one of the first new mutants the group has seen in 25 years but also hunted by the cyborg mercenaries, The Reavers, led by Pierce, who hides his ruthlessness under a veil of southern charm. The acting across the board is good to great but the main trio of Charles, Logan and Laura outshine everyone else by far. Hugh Jackman gives the best performance of his entire X career, totally selling Logan’s tiredness and guilt but there’s still plenty of the old berserker rage in Logan that is unleashed in the many incredibly brutal action sequences. In what’s also probably his last time in the X universe, Patrick Stewart is bittersweet as Charles swings in and out of clarity but he seems to be having a ton of fun being able to drop F bombs and play a much looser and unhinged version of Professor X. In her first movie role, Dafne Keen is incredible as Laura/X-23. Saying nothing for over half the movie, she conveys everything she needs to with her facial expressions and body posture and stands claw to claw with Jackman in the action department. It is a little jarring when she suddenly starts speaking seemingly out of nowhere and I wonder if it would have been more powerful for her to not speak at all until possibly the end but that’s a minor nitpick and if Dafne is the future of the Wolverine name, I’m 100% on board. The one major weakpoint in the cast is Richard E. Grant as Dr. Rice, who shows up about halfway through to take over as the main villain. He lacks the southern charm and cool robot arm of Boyd Holbrook and is just a generic evil scientist. He even gets caught monologuing toward the end.
Action wise, Logan finally delivers the promise of the Wolverine action we’ve been waiting for since the excellent but bloodless mansion sequence from X-2 as right off the bat here, the violence is brutal and bloody. There are some fantastic sequences, including one fairly early on that is almost exclusively X-23’s as she takes on Reavers in Logan’s hideout south of the border and as the threats increase, you completely feel the toll it’s taking on Logan, who’s healing factor is drastically slowed down since we last saw him. (He can still take getting shot but instead of seconds for the bullets to pop out, it’s hours). The one disappointing thing for probably most fans is that we never see Wolverine in a classic Wolverine costume, even though it was hinted at in a bonus scene from The Wolverine. I was hoping for some sort of flashback or something but as a movie fan, I also appreciate their subtlety regarding what happened to the other mutants and building up little details about the world of 2029, especially after the over the top, terrible insanity of last year’s Apocalypse.
Logan is a quiet, emotional, bittersweet but still action packed finale for Wolverine and an amazing send off for Hugh Jackman after he’s almost single handedly carried Fox’s X-Men universe on his shoulders. Patrick Stewart also gets a great possible send off and Dafne Keen is an incredible new discovery. If we had to endure things like X-Men Origins: Wolverine to get here, it was worth it.