Without question, this was Hugh Jackman's movie, from start to finish. No matter how you view it, or who the mantle is passed onto next, Jackman will forever be Wolverine, and this film proves it once and for all. Logan dives deep into the hearts of its viewers, twisting and turning until every emotional string is pulled, and in the end, delivers a superhero film like no other before it; a perfect swan song.
Logan heavily, and fittingly, borrows from Marvel's iconic 'Old Man Logan' comic to tell the story of a grim and desolate future, where mutant-kind is all but extinct. Director/writer James Mangold was finally given all the tools necessary to tell a truly compelling Wolverine story, and arguably the biggest tool in the box was the 'R' rating. It pushes the film into an extremely dark and forbidding tone, which helps carve the movie into one of immense intensity and emotion. The 'R' rating, of course, also allows for studious amounts of gore and profanity, but those elements don't feel like they were added just because they could be, they only added to the atmosphere Mangold created for this film, and in turn helps set the narrative to be nothing short of enthralling. The pacing is spot on, the dialogue is stellar and the emotional weight is that of a moving mountain. I applaud Mangold for his brilliant writing, and subsequent directing, as he was at last able to produce the Wolverine story every fan has been craving for the last 17 years, one of raw emotion, brutality and pure magnificence.
Hugh Jackman has devoted the last 17 years of his career to this beloved character, and now, he leaves it all on the table, giving the performance of a lifetime, one which could seriously garner some looks at an Oscar nomination. The writing of the characters, Wolverine specifically, stand out the most in the gritty setting, because few superhero movies have ever done what Logan is able to do; make the characters vulnerable, make them real and to make you truly care like never before. Wolverine is worn down and beaten, looking for a way out, and Hugh Jackman gives you every reason to want to feel for his character. His action scenes are nothing short of powerful, none more than his final, and the emotion he displays in every aspect is worthy of an award-winning performance. I genuinely cannot express my praise for Jackman enough, he gave it is all.
Wolverine is accompanied by two spectacular supporting characters for most of the film in franchise favorite Professor X and the ferocious X-23. Both characters add tremendous layers of depth to both Wolverine and the film as a whole, with exceptional performances from Patrick Stewart and youngster Dafne Keen, who's X- 23 is an absolute showstopper. The main villain, Pierce, isn't anything too special, but doesn't have to be in a story like this. The core cast of Wolvie, Professor X and X-23 are what drive the film and the performances by their respective actors are outstanding. The father figure that Professor X is to Wolverine and the subsequent father that Wolverine is to X-23 is a deep, touching addition to their characters. This is no-doubt a character driven film, and with Wolverine in the driver's seat, and a pair of dynamite supporting characters, the ability to connect with these characters is real, and that is a treasure few superhero films have ever held.
The film's action is gloriously vicious, showcasing what a hacking from Wolverine or X-23 would actually look like. But it's not just the heavy amounts of gore that make the action so amazing, it's again the feeling that these characters are in true danger and every move they make could cost them their lives, none more than Wolverine himself, whose reduced healing factor forces him into a different mindset that, outside of briefly in "The Wolverine", we've never seen before. He's not invincible, and even with X-23's relentless attacks, he still has to play his cards differently, and it translates into an emotional roller coaster. All together the action sequences and sheer amount of violence were a sight to behold, entertaining and fierce.
17 years it has been, since we first watched a young Hugh Jackman don his X-Men suit. 17 years of stories, character development, action, hardship, humor and emotion, come together to deliver one final journey. The final scene alone may move you to tears, as Hugh Jackman's time as the iconic Wolverine comes to an end. One final epic masterpiece of superhero cinema; Logan.