By Francisco Portillo
Fueled by an amazing performance by Hugh Jackman, “Logan” is the best on-screen representation of the Wolverine character to date.
Director and writer James Mangold finally gives fans what they’ve been waiting for with the perfect mixture of humor, emotion, vulgarity and gore. The greatest thing about this movie is it’s R-rating. Without having to cater to a younger audience, Mangold is given free reigns to portray the character as many fans have anticipated for over a decade.
Being primarily known by fans for his extreme use of violence, Wolverine is allowed to go full berserker mode on his enemies. In the first 5 minutes the audience knows what theyre in for as Wolverine casually drops f-bombs and shoves his adamantium claws through an attacker’s skull while dismembering others.
After a decade of portraying the character, Jackman delivers his best performance of the Wolverine character in his latest and final appearance. The years have not only caught up to actor Jackman, as the physical requirements for the role are becoming tougher to fulfill, but for the character of Wolverine as well.
More than any other movie, Jackman beautifully captures the essence of the Wolverine character. The audience can see the pain of a man who has seen everyone that he’s ever loved die and it’s all in the performance.
The story is set in the future- a world where mutants are on the verge of extinction. Logan has given up the life of being a hero and now makes a living as a driver, barely making enough money to take care of his longtime friend Charles Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart. When a mysterious young mutant is brought into his life, he is faced with the task of protecting the girl from the men that created her.
The best part of the film is the relationship dynamic between Logan and new character, Laura aka X-23, played by Dafne Keen. The first-time actor almost steals the show from Hugh Jackman. For a good portion of the movie, the character remains silent, only screaming while unleashing the monster that was created in a laboratory. Keen is able to be so expressive with her eyes that it never bothers the audience that she doesn’t speak.
During an emotional moment, Keen delivers a monologue from a classic Western titled “Shane,” which served as an inspiration for this movie. As she recites the lines, her tears start to flow and the audience’s heart breaks with hers.
The primary antagonist of the film is an enhanced mercenary named Pierce, played by Boyd Holbrook. The mercenary is involved with the laboratory that created Laura and is hunting her down. The casting of Holbrook adds dimension to a character that would otherwise be two-dimensional. His machismo makes for a formidable opponent while adding humor to the role.
After tracking Laura down, Pierce sends a couple of his men to capture her. His reaction, when she comes out to confront him with the decapitated head of one of his men, is priceless.
The best scenes in the movie involve the two actors who have great chemistry. The young actress plays the part with the perfect amount of rage, emotion and confidence and will leave fans wanting to see her on a solo adventure.
The movie takes inspiration from a couple of Wolverine story lines, but the most comparable would be that of “Old Man Logan,” which was written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven. Mangold has fun with the film, including plenty easter eggs with one of them showing Logan donning the “Old Man Logan” beard.
Mangold directs some of the most intense action sequences in the franchise’s history in this movie. Every set piece is something that has never been seen before in the X-Men movies, thanks to the R-rating. The action at the conclusion of the film was a beautiful use of all the tools at Mangold’s disposal.
The third act of the film is filled with plenty of surprises and heart-breaking moments that will keep fans engaged for the entirety of the film. By the time it’s all said and done, the longtime fans of the X-franchise will be left in tears. The final shot, while bittersweet, is a very memorable and emotional tribute to the longtime fan favorite character. The film overall, is a beautiful tribute and best possible ending for Jackman and Stewart, who have each portrayed the characters for 17 years.
Never again will there be an actor that will live up to Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine.
With a runtime of 135 minutes, “Logan” is rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity.