Since I first saw the trailer of ‘Logan’ set to the mournful melodies and lyrics of Johnny Cash’s "Hurt," I’ve been impatiently waiting to see it. The Wolverine trilogy comes to a fitting if somewhat sappy end as director James Mangold (‘Walk the Line,’ no wonder his choice of song) followed up on his pretty good second installment (‘The Wolverine’ reviewed here: link) with this even better, and certainly more memorable, effort that made us all but forget the mess that was ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ and redeemed the rough-and-tumble Canuck X-Man whom we all love. Hugh Jackman, in reprising the feral and animalistic character who can rip you to shreds for the last time over a span of 17 years, put in what may well be his best performance to date. Well done, bub.
Loosely based on ‘Kick-Ass’ creator Mark Millar’s alternate universe graphic novel ‘Old Man Logan,’ the film takes place in the bleak dystopian future of 2029, one in which Logan and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are among the last of a dying breed (as in mutant-kind). Reduced to a shell of a man eking out a pitiful existence as a drunkard and limo driver, Logan – and the bedridden and even more pitiable former Professor X whom he’s taking care of like an ailing father – suddenly find one last worthy purpose in their meaningless lives to nobly fulfill when a young Mexican girl-experimental subject named Laura (Dafne Keen) needed their help.
Raw, primal, complex and unexpectedly dark, ‘Logan’ is the most deeply personal Wolverine movie ever committed to celluloid. James Howlett never seemed so flawed, tortured and grappling with his inner demons as he did in this film, and Hugh Jackman had a lot to do with that. Tonally and stylistically, ‘Logan’ is a different film from anything we’ve seen in the Marvel milieu, even for one that falls well beyond the official MCU. It is ‘Wolverine’ by way of a dusty Sam Peckinpah western combined with a Mad Max chase thriller, a brutal R-rated bloodbath reveling in its nihilistic excess. Ditching glossy CGI visuals and epic-ness of scope for a low-fi naturalistic feel, ‘Logan’ is a welcome departure in a genre that’s become somewhat predictable and stale in its very sameness.