Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: James Mangold
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Mathieson
WRITERS: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami
In 2000, 20th Century Fox released “X-Men”, a film that helped unleash the superhero genre into the cinematic mainstream. It also helped launch the successful film career of an Australian actor named Hugh Jackman, the man chosen to play Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan.“Logan” is Jackman’s ninth and last film as everyone’s favorite mutant.
The movie is also notable as the final appearance for Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, a role he has taken on in seven X-Men films, both starring and in special cameo appearances. Stewart has stated that this is his last performance because he thinks that it is the best send off for the character that he is ever going to get.
He’s absolutely right as these two actors definitely give their finest performances in the series. So, where does this movie begin?
When the movie starts, it looks like something is slowing down Logan’s healing factor to the point where his wounds don’t completely fade away anymore. He has scars, this time both physically as well as mentally. He is currently driving a limo in an attempt to raise cash.
South of the border, he is taking care of Charles Xavier with the help of Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a fellow mutant survivor. Charles is suffering from a mentally degenerative disease that has made his telepathy too unstable. Once Logan has raised enough money, he plans to buy a boat and take Charles away from anyone that he might hurt so that Charles can live the rest of his days in peace.
Eventually, a woman finds Logan and she is accompanied by a young girl. She reveals that the girl is named Laura (Dafne Keen) and that she is a genetically engineered clone of Logan. The people behind the project that created her are in hot pursuit and eventually, Logan agrees to take Laura to a supposed safe place along with Charles.
The first thing that I should go ahead and get out of the way is the fact that parents should NOT bring their kids to see this movie. The violence is raw as Logan is finally able to let loose, meaning they earned their R-rating.
The action sequences pack quite the punch as Logan claws his way through various henchmen here and there. Guys, there are so many people stabbed in the head. Director James Mangold definitely doesn’t shy away from the violence since 20th Century Fox took off the PG-13 leash.
While there is plenty of great action, the film does stop moving at times in order to tell its surprisingly emotional story. It is during these times that we learn what happened to the mutants and why Logan has been caring for Charles.
Since this is Jackman’s last Wolverine film, people tend to forget that this is Stewart’s last ride as well. The veteran actor gives a raw and emotional performance as a man who is not in full control of his mind, which was once his greatest gift. The good thing is that even though his mind is slipping, Charles is the same mentor and caring character that we’ve always known and loved.
He takes a liking to Laura and wants to see her taken care of and knows that Logan is her best chance at survival. Charles also thinks that Laura might just be what Logan needs as well in order to find true happiness. Stewart gives it his all in this final performance and he doesn’t disappoint.
Keen explodes onto the screen as the initially quiet Laura. I always have a little fear when I see that there will be a child actor in a major role. Thankfully, Keen is fantastic as Laura, a character that is reserved at first but slowly begins to open up as she learns more about the world she is now apart of and I can’t wait to see more of this actress in the future.
Finally, there is the man of the hour. It’s hard to believe that 17 years have passed since we first saw Jackman take on this role. I think “Logan” is the perfect send-off for him because not only is it the most mature superhero film ever made, he gets to act his ass off and give a perfect final performance. He is so good that I don’t want him to make another X-Men or Wolverine film as he definitely leaves on a high note.
The movie is an emotional powerhouse that I can’t say enough about. It transcends the superhero genre and is just a fantastic movie all around. I don’t think I’ve ever come so close to tears while a watching a superhero movie as I did during the last half of this movie. While every actor gives a great performance in this movie, I think Mr. Mangold, Mr. Jackman, and Mr. Stewart should definitely take a well earned bow!
P.S. – There is no post-credit scene in the movie, but be sure to get to the theater early for a special surprise!