Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox
From the beginning of this century, Hugh Jackman has set the bar for the superhero genre after he put on the claws as Wolverine in “X-Men” circa 2000. In the time since then, we have had two Batmans, two Supermans, and about 10 Spider-Man’s. His character has always been a constant for me as an adolescent, so to watch Jackman play the role for what is (presumably) the last time was bittersweet, and very, very, emotional.
James Mangold, who directed the 2013 stand-alone film “The Wolverine,” returns to the chair to bring forth the bloodiest, meatiest and most sympathetically manipulative entry yet. When “Logan” isn’t concerned about raising the body count (and there are many on screen decapitations) it wants you to feel something. A hard balance, I’m afraid, isn’t perfected the way Mangold probably intended. With this being the first time our iron-clad hero has earned an R rating, I find it only customary that the filmmakers try to pull all the punches, which they do, but at the expense of a massive overkill. By the end of this movie you will be wiping the blood off your sleeve.
The year is set in 2029 and mutants are all but extinct, the once beloved X-Men are nothing but some color on a comic book page and Logan has sheathed his superpowers in exchange for a “normal life.” He is a limo driver, that drives country singers, bachelorette parties and drunken nerds and is much more crankier and repressed than we last saw him. In the shadows, he is taking care of an ailing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who has to be sheltered or else his powers might cause harm to other non-mutants.
Logan, Charles, and their compatriot, an albino mutant tracked named Caliban (Stephen Merchant) live a quarantined, peaceful life in the desert. With plans to save up for a yacht and live the rest of their lives on the open sea. Their plans for the future, however, take a snag when Logan encounters Laura (Dafne Keene) a wild child with abilities strikingly familiar to his own. And somehow the fate of the entire mutant race all but rests in this lone child, who comes with her fair share of baggage. A high-tech government agency is on her tail, forcing Logan and Xavier to go on the run.
Once you find out who the kid is - and it likely won’t surprise anyone because it’s the biggest cliche in the movie - Mangold begins unfolding his master manipulation plan which is played, oh so sweetly, that it’s easy to forgive. Still, running a staggering 147 minutes is the longest this mutant has ever seen the screen, and by the end you have to wonder how all of it will end. I won’t spoil any of the riches for you, but the last shot of “Logan” is arguably the best in the series. Not only is it vastly poetic, but, for a kid that grew up pretending he was Wolverine, it was righteously earned. B