In the almost two decades that Hugh Jackman has portrayed Wolverine, we never really had the chance to see the character unleashed in a way that fans have wanted; a violent and unleashed animal. Logan not only gives us this version of Wolverine but possibly Jackman’s greatest acting performance thus far. Logan is not your typical superhero movie in that it feels more like a family drama that just happens to have characters running around with metal grafted to their bones while taking care of an old man that could wipe out humanity in a single thought.
Logan takes place in what seems like an alternative timeline to that of the X-Men movies, years after some big event that saw the extinction of mutant-kind, a feat so powerful that no mutant has been born since. When Logan and Professor Xavier come into contact with a young girl named Laura, a mutant, they find themselves in for a world of hurt as the young girl is being pursued by armed forces lead by a man named Pierce.
First, and foremost, this is an R-rated movie by a large degree. Decapitations, stabbings, and losses of limbs occur every few minutes and it does not let up, for the most part. This is an excessively adult movie as both Jackman and Stewart cuss at the drop of a hat, oh, and there is a few seconds of nudity thrown in because I guess that’s what you do in an R-rated movie. While I could say that the majority of the violence is perpetrated by Logan himself, that would be incorrect as Dafne Keen, the young girl playing Laura, is by far the most violent of the trio, unable to control her bloodlust and rage.
As I’ve said, Jackman is on top form here as the old and bitter Logan, unwanting to do the right thing and with his healing factor not working as intended, he’s rather ill. There is a bit of mystery regarding Logan’s care of the old Professor, hinting Xavier had a breakdown due to the result of some sort of brain disease. Patrick Stewart is fantastic here as the old and senile Professor. The interactions between Logan and Xavier are some of the film’s best character moments and really show the chemistry the two actors share. The care and attention given to both actors to make them appear much older than they are, even for Stewart, is remarkable.
Dafne Keen, as Laura, or as fans of the comics will call her; X-23, is a real treat here. There are several moments in the film where you will either say or mouth a full on “Holy Sh…” and then stop and simply grin. Dafne is intense in her role here, spending the good portion of it mute and relying solely on her facial expressions and gestures. When Laura cuts loose, and it is often, she’s a firecracker of violence that has no intent on stopping.
The villain, or at least the one I will talk about here, to keep it spoiler free, is Pierce, played by Boyd Holbrook. While the character has a fun charm to him, he doesn’t really do a whole lot later on in the film and tends to get lost behind the film setting up a few new threats for the group. I’ll also mention that I couldn’t remember his name what-so-ever and had to look it up on IMDB, surprised to see that he was the character Donald Pierce, a villain from the X-Men comics and that in some ways goes to show how memorable he really was. Then you also have Logan’s roommate of sorts, Caliban. Stephen Merchant’s performance here is alright, but the character is there simply just to move the plot along and serves no other direct purpose. He has a few ok moments early on, but once the trio hits the road, you’ll forget about Caliban entirely.
Director James Mangold, who also directed the previous ‘The Wolverine’ does a fantastic job moving the plot at a fairly decent pace. The film does drag a little bit early on, but once the setup is complete, the film really picks up. There are several scenes featured in the trailers that unfortunately spoil a lot of key moments in the film, and many of the best action moments are located in various trailers as well, thus not leaving many wow moments exclusive to the film.
The latest trend of quick cut fight scenes or tight in close camera tricks like that of Jason Bourne or the Resident Evil films is not here, thankfully, as the action is well shot and given room to really display the lethal and brutal killing that both Logan and Laura take part in. There are some really well shot moments that will make you gasp, cringe, and shocked that this is connected in some way to the PG-13 X-Men films. The film’s opening moments show the tone and violence the film is setting you in for and the violence and mayhem only escalate from there.
Logan has been talked about as being the last time that Jackman and Stewart will star as their respective roles, and if that is the case, then what a send-off this is. Logan is packed full of violent action, starring a pissed off and bitter old Wolverine. The nods to the X-Men being comic book heroes in this world adds a nice humor to a film, that while it does have several moments that will make you laugh, this is mostly a violent drama that can make you feel a whole set of emotions. Logan is a wonderful send-off to Jackman’s Wolverine, and it’s going to be rather difficult for Fox to cast a new one when that chore inevitably comes around.