Well, it took three tries, but Hugh Jackman and 20th Century Fox have finally made a great Wolverine movie. Too bad it’s the last one.
Given how screwed up the X-Men movie timeline is these days, let’s say “Logan” takes place in the near future. All the mutants appear to have been wiped out, with the exception of Logan (Hugh Jackman), also known as Wolverine, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), former professor and leader of the X-Men, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a mutant with the ability to detect and locate mutants.
Logan and Caliban care for the professor in an out-of-the-way junkyard in Mexico. Xavier has to be sedated most of the time to keep him from having deadly seizures — more deadly for the people around him than for himself. Logan scrapes together what little money they have by working for a limousine service. His healing factor isn’t what it used to be, but he’s still willing to cut people open if they cross him.
One day Logan is approached by a woman with a young girl. She begs Logan to take the child — Laura (Dafne Keen) — to a safe haven. Laura and several other children are the product of genetic experiments by the Transigen corporation. Working with stolen mutant DNA, Transigen was creating preteen super soldiers. With her bad temper and metal claws, it’s clear who was Laura’s unwitting donor.
Naturally the Transigen people want Laura back, so she’s being tracked by some heavily armed mercenaries called the Reavers, led by the ruthless Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).
Soon it’s the road trip from hell as Logan, Charles and Laura race across country for sanctuary, with Pierce, the Reavers, and an imprisoned Caliban always on their heels.
Aside from a couple of characters, “Logan” bears little resemblance to the X-Men films that have come before. Unlike previous X-Men and Wolverine movies, this one is rated R — and it earned that R. The violence and language are ramped up to “Deadpool” levels. Sorry, but you really shouldn’t take your small children to see “Logan,” even if they do sleep in Wolverine pajamas. They probably wouldn’t sleep well after witnessing this.
And while “Deadpool” played the R-rated superhero movie as a comedy, “Logan” is anything but. This movie is dark, moody, and dark. There’s a little of the trademark Marvel humor, but the overall tone is grim. Like Batman, Wolverine is a character that can work in many situations (Yes, I’d pay to see Lego Logan) but is at his best when the stories are dark and gritty.
Director James Mangold has crafted a comic book movie that is violent yet poignant, bleak yet hopeful, and emotionally charged. Jackman gives it his all in this, his ninth and reportedly final outing as The Wolverine. There could be no better sendoff.