“Logan”: a fitting swan song for Jackman’s Wolverine

logan-posterNutshell: A fitting goodbye to Jackman’s Wolverine, as well as an amazing introduction to Laura “X-23” Kinney. Logan gives you everything you want in a big-screen re-imagining of the “Old Man Logan” story…and while everything means the film goes on a bit longer than necessary, it’s impossible to look away from such a talented group of actors telling such a compelling tale. Grade: A-

“I’m a fan.”

Story: Once upon a time in 2029, Wolverine (now going by  Logan) is starting to weaken and age due to adamantium poisoning.  Charles Xavier (aka “Professor X”) is suffering from a form of Alzheimer’s, making him not only dangerous, but a beacon to those who would destroy what remaining mutants are still alive.  When a woman comes to Logan asking for help for her daughter Laura, Logan’s tenuous grip on sanctuary goes from bad to worse. But damn if Laura doesn’t remind him of someone… *snik*

Genre I’d put it in: Super-effective Superhero Swan Songs

Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: The third film of the Wolverine series, based (loosely) on the “Old Man Logan” and “Innocence Lost” comics.

Gotta say: If we must bid farewell to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, a dark, hyper-violent, touching final act is the only way to do it.

If you’re sad that Jackman is bowing out (and who wouldn’t be?) There’s a cool introduction to Laura “X-23” Fisher. Young Dafne Keen does a remarkable job as Laura, and to quote my fellow Movie-Blogger Podcast bud (#shamelessplug)?  “It’s her. It’s really her.”  I couldn’t agree more.  The casting director who brought her in should get a huge bonus.  And a fucking medal. Keen embodies a superhero like no actor I’ve ever seen…except for Jackman as Wolverine.  Kismet?  No doubt.

Speaking of, I can’t tap out my thoughts on this film without giving a deep virtual bow to Jackman.  He’s brought it 110% every time he’s donned the adamantium.  And as an aging, failing superhero trying his best to survive and protect what remaining family he has, Jackman is perfection.  The heartbreak, anger, misery and pain is powerful, and he can convey all of that with a single glance.  Damn, I’m gonna miss this Wolverine, but with his incredible performances in so many films, I guess I can give the man a break and let him bow out.  Dammit, who’s chopping onions?

Patrick Stewart gets to display his full-on Shakespearean chops as an addled, heartbroken Charles Xavier. It’s a brilliant performance, and while I’m sure the Academy won’t deign to recognize it (they’re probably too busy cleaning up this year’s Oscar mess anyway), I have hope he’ll at least snag a SAG, BAFTA or Globes tip of the hat.

Oh, and grownups trying to decide whether or not to bring the kiddies to Logan?  This movie is rated R, and for good reason.  While the action is often at a breakneck speed (that X-23 is damn fast y’all), there’s still lots of blood and death.  Lots.  Lots and lots.  So gauge your kid’s ability to deal with all of that, and decide if you want to make your kid happy, or make that check out to therapy once a week.

While director James Mangold and screenwriter Scott Frank (The Wolverine) do a great job of telling this tale, saying hello/goodbye is a heckuva thing to get done in one film.  So yeah, Logan goes on for much longer than necessary.  It’s as if they knew Jackman was done and wanted to wring every last drop of Wolverine from him. I don’t blame Mangold for wanting the story to last.  Jackman does some of his best work in this film, letting us know that he’ll miss playing the snik-meister as much as we’ll miss seeing him wearing muttonchops.

So get comfy, and plan on spending almost two and half hours saying goodbye to our favorite cigar-chomping reluctant superhero. Say hello to the incredible X-23.  And bring some Kleenex.  No, you’re crying!

#Protip: Want to know more about Laura?  Comics Alliance has a great list of stories to get you started. That piece also happens to have the most kickass title of any comic book article, ever.

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