Let’s just pretend the other Wolverine movies didn’t happen. OK? good.
Now let’s take a look at Logan, the first proper in-your-face-claw-your-gut-take-no-prisoners Wolverine to hit the big screen.
Very loosely based on the Old Man Logan graphic novel – and by loose I mean, other than the road trip aspect of it nothing else was the same – Wolverine, aged, in a world were there were no mutants out in the open, makes a living as a limo driver. There are government agencies hunting down mutants so he takes up his real name James Howlett.
Other than his secret identity, he is also harboring a much bigger secret. Close to the Mexico-US borders, he has Professor X stashed away who in his 90’s and barely in control of his powers, is now, due to some incident, considered to be some living weapon of mass destruction. To top it all off, James takes on a job to transport a young mutant Laura (x-23) to somewhere near the Canadian border.
The plot itself is simple and the special effects are not distracting in the least (unlike how Beauty and the Beast was). This is a super hero movie that allows the humanity of the characters to really shine, giving the actors much breathing room to flex their acting muscles (yeah they have those! whereas we have movie watching deltoids).
Hugh Jackman delivers such a masterful portrayal of the character. You feel the pain of his age, the struggle of frustration of the almost absent healing factor and grit your teeth when he goes in full berserker rage mode. That being said, you end up watching a Wolverine who talks, acts and fights JUST LIKE IN THE COMICS. He drops f-bombs, he guts the bad guys, and under that self-healing mutant exterior he is hurting yet cares for human and mutant kind alike.
Patrick Stewart has always been a favourite actor and by far has been perfectly cast for the role of Prof. X. The stark dichotomy of his aged, frail, helpless state and his being one of the most powerful mutants ever is executed perfectly. Stewart’s funny yet heartbreaking performance brought out the best in Wolverine and the chemistry of their characters really made you feel their bond as lifelong friends.
The villains are your run of the mill evil scientist with his army of mercenary henchmen who are up to no good in covering up a government conspiracy. Typical. BUT, they do serve the purpose of being great pinatas for some aging claws to get some action. Logan gives you just the right amount of onscreen, non-PG13 violence that the character deserves.
In case it isn’t obvious already, Logan is hands down the best Wolverine movie to date. James Mangold and his screenplay successfully give Jackman a proper send-off as the titular character in the Marvel Universe as well as show us that there are other ways to tell a super hero story.
With the X-Men movies being the first big successful team based super hero franchise in Hollywood, this movie was the proper send off for two of the main original characters – it showed us, the viewing public that the characters age, not only actors alone, and that maybe their struggles and tribulations albeit extraordinary in circumstance are just as human as ours.
There will be purists who will argue that this movie changes the narrative of the Marvel Universe too much, and there was not enough references to other events and characters, and although they may be right, the movie is still the best… rather the ONLY Wolverine movie out there worth seeing.