REVIEW: ‘Logan’ Is A Perfect Last Hurrah For Jackman

After being an integral piece in the film that helped launch the 2000s superhero blockbuster craze more than a decade ago, the time has finally come for Hugh Jackman’s final adventure as the clawed mutant in “Logan.”

The film follows the titular character, commonly known as Wolverine, as an aging man who is struggling to get through his day-to-day life. He works a dead-end job, his healing powers are weakening, he’s being poisoned by the very metal that’s in him and he has to take care of a sick Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).

As Xavier’s brain illness worsens, problems increase for Logan when he comes in contact with a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen). Logan and Xavier soon learn that Laura was part of an underground mutant experiment and is on the run. As a result, the three are forced to stay on the move and find a safe haven.

“Logan” is the first film in the “X-Men” franchise to get an R rating, and yet for all of its brutal action and intense moments of combat that fans have most likely been waiting for with Wolverine, the more human elements is really what makes this a compelling feature. Watching Logan struggle with alcoholism and later watching the three protagonists become a de facto family unit is moving and engaging dramatic cinema.

At the same time, the flick also handles its ‘action movie’ elements very well. This is less a film that follows the super hero formula and rather a picture that plays out in a ‘cat and mouse’ scenario, with the heroes always having to watch their backs and having barely any rest. In that sense, audiences are able to watch a thrilling film and be heavily emotionally invested in the characters.

To make it all happen, the film relies heavily on the stellar performance of Jackman, who does arguably his best work in the role. There’s no doubt that Jackman, with many “X-Men” movies under his belt, is already familiar with the part of Wolverine, but there was an added layer of depth and realism this time around.

From the more grandiose moments, such as sequences where he’s pushed to his wits end by the events surrounding him to the smaller characteristics such as having to put on glasses or walking with a limp, Jackman does a fantastic job selling a vulnerable Logan who still has some shades of his younger self.

Credit also has to go to the wonderful supporting cast, though, who helped round out the film’s acting highlights. Stewart, for example, gives a heartbreaking performance as Xavier, showing a side of the character that we’ve never seen before. Watching the legendary, wise professor X struggle like he does in “Logan” is gut-wrenching, but at the same time, seeing his kind heart shine through at times gives the movie some warm moments.

Bringing the lead three together was Keen, who was quite impressive as Laura, also known as X-23. Keen really captures the guarded nature of her character. For example, she constantly holds a piercing thousand yard stare for most of the film and it sends the message home that she doesn’t trust anybody. Watching her interact and build a sort of family unit with the picture’s other two heroes as the movie goes on worked extraordinarily well, too.

On the villain side, the Boyd Holbrook is the highlight as Pierce. The character is slick, cunning and brutal, making for a solid antagonist and Holbrook really exudes these traits well.

As previously mentioned, the flick does in fact have some savage moments of violence, and while they don’t take center stage when compared to the movie’s character arcs, they are extremely well shot and make for an entertaining time. Wolverine gets to ‘let loose’ here, displaying ruthless ways of fighting never seen in an “X-Men” film, as he does things that are only possible with the picture’s hard R-rating.

If there’s anything that becomes a detriment on the movie, it’s that it runs a bit too long, clocking in at about two hours and 20 minutes. Additionally, there’s a moment where the characters make a decision in the second act that seems like a fairly obvious mistake on their part, making it a bit distracting.

However, this is still a top notch comic book film and up there with some of the other greats in the ever expanding genre. “Logan” gets a 4.5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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