‘Logan’ brings the story of Wolverine to an emotional close

In an age where every superhero movie seems to be all about delivering the biggest spectacle Logan, directed by James Mangold and starring Hugh Jackman (in his final turn as the titular character), is determined to give you the opposite. This is not a superhero film. Logan is an intense and moving film that features comic book characters. Yes, there’s some great action set pieces but by and large, this film is focused on bringing the story of Wolverine to a fitting conclusion.

Given that I wasn’t able to take notes (and honestly didn’t want to) while I was watching Logan, I’m going to do my best to summarize my thoughts here in a brief manner.

What struck me the most about Logan was how emotional the entire movie was. There is a palpable sense of sadness and longing that permeates every scene. In his final time portraying Logan, Hugh Jackman fills the character with the weight of everything he has done and everyone he has lost. This is a man who is tired and at the end of his rope. In contrast, Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier serves to remind Logan of the family he once had and that there is still hope for him. Charles is suffering from dementia and isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. It is heartbreaking to see the state that these characters are in. All they have left is each other.

Until a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) shows up in need of an escort to Canada. Laura, it turns out, is a genetic clone of Logan who is being hunted by a group of mercenaries called the Reavers led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Now it’s up to Logan and Charles to see this girl to safety. What follows is something akin to an old road movie as these characters travel across the country, running for their lives and reflecting on their lives. It’s worth mentioning that Keen is excellent as Laura and it’s touching to watch her slowly open up to Logan and Charles. Much is asked of this young actress and she delivers.

Previous films featuring Wolverine has always toned down the violence that is inherent to the character. Well in Logan that violence is on full display. This movie is a hard R, with all the violence and cursing that you’d expect from a movie with that rating. The cursing and the violence are used to the movies benefit rather than a detriment. While incredibly visceral, it never felt gratuitous. Instead, it immersed me in the style of the movie.

Yes, Logan is a spectacularly violent movie but, the violence isn’t what I was thinking about the most after I’d seen Logan. What stuck with me after I left the theater was the heart of the movie. At the end, this is a tale of a man who has given up on life, who is given one last chance to do something good and to find fulfillment in it. If this is (and it should be) the final time we see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine then it was the perfect note to end on. Over 17 years, Jackman has given an iconic portrayal of this character and Logan was the absolute best way to send him off into the sunset.

Logan is playing in theaters nationwide now.

 

 

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