Hugh Jackman has portrayed Logan in nine separate films across 17 years. While the X-Men film franchise has one of the most convoluted timelines to follow, one thing has always remained constant; Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Sure, he’s had his ups (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and downs (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) but Jackman’s performance as the adamantium clawed mutant has been nothing short of extraordinary. After years of rumors and talk of retirement from the character, there’s no better swan song than Logan.
It’s the year 2029 and all that’s left of the X-Men is Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who has grown into a fragile yet dangerous old man thanks to a degenerative brain disorder, and Logan, who no longer heals as quickly as he used to thanks to adamantium infused body slowly poisoning him. The days of playing superhero are long gone as Logan spends his time working as a limo driver to make the cash needed in order to buy drugs for Xavier so that he doesn’t fall into seizures that psychically attack everyone around him. That all changes when a mysterious girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) shows up at their door. As it turns out, she’s the result of a lab experiment to create mutants and is looking for Logan to help escort her to a safe haven called Eden. Hot on her trail is Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his team of cyborg mercenaries, and they want their property back. They’re going to have to go through Logan first, though.
Logan is not only unlike any X-Men film before it, it’s unlike any other superhero film. It follows the realistic and gritty tone we’ve seen so many films in the genre have done lately and brings it down to a level that is driven by the characters themselves and not just one action scene after another. Logan is no longer this larger-than-life superhero who can just run into battle and then heal like it was nothing. He’s older, slower, and without his regenerative abilities. Now any random person with a weapon can go toe-to-toe with the Wolverine, and that forces him to pick his battles carefully. He’s more human than superhero, but at the same time he’s also more animalistic and brutal.
Deadpool proved that it was possible for R-rated superhero films to be successfully, but it got it’s rating mostly because of the language and nudity. Logan, on the other hand, is downright gruesome and portrays what it would truly be like for someone who came face-to-face with someone with claws made of indestructible metal. The opening scene immediately sets the tone as Logan drunkenly faces off against a group of carjackers trying to steal the wheels off his limo. Limbs are hacked off, chunks of flesh are torn from the body, and skulls are sliced clean through. People don’t just fall to the ground when they go up against Logan like they did in previous films; they get ripped to absolute shreds. The action is brutal and intense as you see the impact of every hit, both to and from Logan.
It’s amazing to see how far Hugh Jackman has come since the original X-Men in 2000, and Logan is his best performance as the character he’s ever done. He captures the tortured mentality of this guy who has lived multiple lifetimes and see everyone he’s ever cared about die. Even though he keeps everyone at an arm’s length there’s still a hint of longing for family under the loneliness. Then there’s also the animalistic rage he can portray. Jackman can do it all. He is and will forever be Wolverine.
Jackman aside, we also get a hell of performance from Patrick Stewart, who has also gone on the record saying that this is his final time playing Xavier. He’s no longer the powerful leader he once was. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Xavier always came across as one of the most powerful mutants in the franchise. Now, his appearance is more akin to a crippled old man. Even scarier is the fact that he still has all his powers but can’t necessarily control them at all times, making him extremely dangerous. Like Jackman, Stewart gives it his all for one amazing final performance.
While this may be the end for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, I can only hope it is the beginning for Dafne Keen. She does a phenomenal job as Laura aka X-23. She was designed in a lab using Wolverine’s DNA and thus has the same abilities as him. Even though she’s just a kid, she’s absolutely brutal during her action scenes, perhaps even more so than Logan because unlike him she hasn’t really learned to control her rage yet. Laura doesn’t speak for a good two thirds of the film and instead relies upon her face and body movement to express her emotions. It’s an immense undertaking for just a kid, but Keen performs the role like a seasoned veteran. She’s an amazing X-23 and if anyone should take up the title of Wolverine after Jackman’s departure than it should be her.
Logan doesn’t hold anything back, and it redefines the superhero genre. It strips Wolverine down to a human level as there’s nothing super or heroic about it. The X-Men film franchise has had its fair share of disappointments over the years, but Logan has made it all worth it. I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. He doesn’t go out with a bang but with an absolute bloodbath.