For all their faults (and there are plenty) the one thing the X-Men franchise got majorly right was casting Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Arguably the greatest casting of any superhero franchise (give or take a Downey, Jr.), Jackman’s Wolverine/Logan has consistently captured the complexity of the character, even he’s about a foot taller than he was on the page. Even in the weaker installments (and there have been plenty), Jackman was never the weak link.
In Logan, reportedly Jackman’s final time at bat, we see a dismal near-future where the mutant anti-hero is at his nadir, a drunken, isolated screw-up, slowly being poisoned by the adamantium that laces his bones, although slowly healed by his mutant power. He spends his time caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stuart, also in the running for great comic book casting) and driving around fares in his fancy limo. Enter: X-23 or Laura, the harvested offspring of whom he was unaware.
The movie is as much a western as it is an action movie. The huge references to the movie Shane are there to hit that metaphor home. There’s a lot of gory Wolvie action, something this character deserves, but it gets a little needless with the introduction of some red shirts halfway through the movie. There’s also a villain twist that was as uninteresting as it was unnecessary. Still, there’s enough life in the movie to carry it to an energetic climax. The chemistry between Jackman and Stuart is solid, providing much-needed levity throughout. Dafne Keen’s Laura is a great foil/homage to her predecessor, and the film earns the sentimentality it serves up late in the game.
My Grade – B-