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‘Logan’: Jackman’s Climactic Conclusion

Brendan Pappas, Staff Writer

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(WARNING: The movie being reviewed is rated R, and for good reason. For those who are bothered by intense profanity, graphic violence, and brief scenes of nudity, it is highly suggested you not give it a watch.)

Ever since 2000, X-Men fans have been in love with Hugh Jackman, who portrays James “Logan” Howlett, A.K.A. Wolverine. Many were devastated when the star announced that Logan would likely be his last performance as the user of the nickname “bub.” In turn, director James Mangold had to make sure he gave Wolverine a proper finale.

Mangold is a lesser-known director, but not subpar. His breakout film was 2005’s Walk the Line, which garnered five Academy Award nominations. Mangold has experience with the action genre, as he directed Knight and Day and the second Wolverine movie, The Wolverine. But he isn’t nearly as loved as the lead actor in 2017’s first Marvel movie.

Not only has Jackman perfected one of the most famous comic book characters of all time, but he shown versatility with other non-superhero roles. Jackman has provided voices for animated movies like Rise of the Guardians and was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Les Misérables. He has, unfortunately, had a fair share of flops, like the abysmal Movie 43. But for his last of nine performances as Wolverine, Jackman does as good a job as ever.

Taking inspiration from the comic book Old Man Logan, Logan is a dark superhero film, mirroring Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed The Dark Knight trilogy. Set in 2029, it tells the story of an aging Logan, whose healing factor has weakened due to the poisonous material that gave him his powers. One of the few remaining X-Men, he takes care of an even weaker Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is losing control of his telepathic abilities. While being pursued by a mutant with whom he has a negative history, Logan is forced to protect a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen). He heads for a place in North Dakota known as “Eden” and must not let his hard-headedness get the best of him if he is to complete the task.

Logan has received critical acclaim. It holds a “certified fresh” rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.7/10 stars on IMDb, and a score of 77 on Metacritic. However, the break from normality has polarizing reviews. Some have argued that the sad tone isn’t true to the source material, while others believe that the R rating detracts from the fun action scenes. It is only the second X-Men movie to receive an R rating, as last year’s sleeper hit Deadpool beat it to the punch. When comparing all the X-Men movies, this one is good, but not great.

The ratings and fan opinions should not overshadow Jackman’s performance, though. Logan‘s R rating allows for a better portrayal of Wolverine. His trauma has been shown incredibly well in the other eight films, but this one gives an even better showing. Logan is much more violent and drops more f-bombs, revealing the anger and rage that previously had to be restrained due to PG-13 guidelines. But even after all this, fans still take pity on Wolverine because of all they know about the character.

There is a never-before-seen Professor X on display as well. Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy crafted a wise, respectable leader in the previous eight movies. In Logan, barely any of it is present. Charles Xavier has become a crazy, old, immature man. There are brief moments where he guides and reminds Logan of the task at hand, but most of the time he is a pain to have around. However, this all ties in with the collapse of the X-Men.

Child acting is usually hit or miss, and Dafne Keen does the former with her portrayal of the mutant X-23. Despite barely speaking, the story could not take place without her. Laura is powerful enough to single-handedly take on an army of grown men, and, in a way, more powerful than Wolverine. She does not need to talk to show people the truth and must ultimately resolve the main conflict.

This is expected to be Wolverine’s farewell, but another movie is not off the table. Jackman and fellow actor Ryan Reynolds have been discussing a crossover between their characters. Reynolds plays the beloved Deadpool, and the two comic book creations have a history of violence that has yet to be properly shown on screen.

By the way, Deadpool fans can’t miss Logan‘s pre-movie. It does not disappoint.

Jackman also said he would stay with the role if Wolverine was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which focuses on the Avengers. Fans have wanted to see this happen for a very long time, but likely never will, as the X-Men are owned by 20th Century Fox and the Avengers are owned by Disney. Neither company has expressed interest in selling their rights, as superhero movies tend to rake in a lot of box office dough these days.

Superhero movies aren’t usually as successful as serious ones, so don’t expect Logan to be nominated for too many awards. But the film sends its target audience on a trip through the lives of those who are looked at as and “undesirable”. Regardless of how well it fits into its franchise, Logan gives Wolverine the dark, gritty, uncensored movie that he has deserved for a long time.

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‘Logan’: Jackman’s Climactic Conclusion