On the heels of last year’s massively successful Deadpool, the first R-rated film to hit blockbuster numbers, shattering the box office records for that rating, it was inevitable that studios would catch on to this and try to use it for themselves. Immediately, my concern was that we were going to get an influx of trashy profanity, violence and nudity-filled superhero films that would abuse the higher rating and effectively kill any momentum that these comic adaptations had built up. Fox decided to roll out another one of these restricted films by giving the final Wolverine story, Logan, a chance to stretch its legs with this new freedom and as much as the trailers had me hook, line and sinker, I was still very concerned, especially given the X-Men series’ track record.
Taking place in the year 2024, the film opens on an old and grizzled Logan passed out in the back of the limo he drives various customers in to make enough money for a plan long in the works. It’s obvious that the former “Weapon X” is in a bad way health wise and constantly pounds back booze just to numb the pain. At his home, across the border in Mexico, he resides with a mutant tracker named Caliban and a surly Professor Xavier, who is quarantined to a fallen water tower, experiencing massive seizures that prompt a huge burst of crippling psychic energy. Logan is building capital to run away from his past with Xavier on a boat but this plan is left behind when a young girl is put into his care, with a past that lines up very closely with his own. The three then find themselves escaping this shadowy organization bent on wiping the few remaining mutants from the earth.
Instead of using the freedom of the rating to make an excessive feeling film, director and story writer James Mangold uses this new terrain to explore a Wolverine story we haven’t yet seen on the big screen and, in turn, makes the best film version of this character we have ever seen. This film is moody, dour and pushes Logan to a place we’ve didn’t know was possible in this format. Taking elements from the comic series “Old Man Logan’, Hugh Jackman gives his incarnation of this popular comic legend an anti-hero swan song that will live in my memory for a long, long time. I’m going to say it right now, and fight me on it, but I think is the best X-Men related film ever made.
Both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart provide award-worthy performances, giving a soul crushing regret to these iconic characters and a rich history that we don’t even get the full story on, taking on an unstoppable corporate villain, in a scene-stealing turn by Boyd Holbrook. The inclusion of this new focus, the protected mutant Laura, played by young actress Dafne Keen, makes a comic book fan like me salivate because it is X-23, the current comic version of Wolverine. To me, this represents a new beginning for the Wolverine and one that doesn’t feel forced. James Mangold and The Lookout filmmaker Scott Frank help craft a final statement on a character that has been loved by us fans on film for nearly twenty years that shows that they love this gruff and clawed Canadian just as much. Logan will go down as one of the greatest superhero stories ever made and I don’t believe that is, at all, an overstatement. 5/5