*Slight Spoilers* I saw Logan last night and I’m still not exactly sure what to make of it. Logan is a fine, well made tale of the famous feral mutant Wolverine and takes place in a near future of the X-Men Universe. It features spectacular action, wonderful acting and a great script. It’s an impressive film—I’m just not convinced it’s a great Wolverine film.
We join Logan as a much older man, driving a limo to help support him, an ailing Professor Xavier and the mutant Caliban. His healing factor is beginning to fail and his body is rejecting the adamantium coating his bones. He’s aging, tired, run down and in constant pain. It’s all he can do to keep going. When a young mutant girl named Laura enters his life and needs a ride to the north for safety, he wants nothing to do with her. Some nasty, violent people are pursuing her and Logan (going by his birth name of James Howlett here, an unexpected treat for comic fans) does not want to get involved. Eventually forced to flee with Xavier and the girl, Logan fights his way north through a series of obstacles to save her.
Director James Mangold has a specific and stylish story to tell in Logan. It’s serious, violent and not necessarily hopeful. The violence is constant and visceral, as the Logan we’ve always wanted to see finally surfaces and the movie earns its hard R rating. Logan cuts and slices arms, legs, heads and other extremities from countless evil hoods who are trying to stop him and his mission. Hugh Jackman, in supposedly his last Wolverine performance, does a fantastic job channeling Wolverine’s rage into lashing out at evil men and cutting them into small pieces. The ending is not upbeat, and can be taken as hopeful or not, depending on the viewer. I didn’t love it.
I’ve been reading Wolverine comic book stories for 40 years now. My version of the character is much more of a superhero than this broken, angry animal. My Wolverine wears a costume, has funky hair and while feral and violent, keeps that part of himself in check—barely, but he does it. This serious, adult film has nothing to do with that character. This is a dark, thinking man’s action adventure. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is a far cry from my Wolverine. There is definitely room for both versions of the character, but if this is the last Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie we’re ever going to get—possibly the last Wolverine movie ever—I would have liked to see the young Wolverine, maybe a costume, perhaps some traditional comic book villains—and not an overall feeling of depression and malaise throughout the entire endeavor. Again, Logan is a fine Wolverine movie—just not my Wolverine.
Rating: ***½ out of 5 stars