Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t seen Logan.
In the relatively short history of comic book movies, Hugh Jackman reigns supreme as the only actor to appear in nine films (10 if you count his Deadpool “cameo”) as the same character: Marvel’s Wolverine. Logan aims to be the crowning achievement in Jackman’s career as the adamantium-clawed mutant. That’s a tall order considering how beloved the first two X-Men movies are and how much effort both Jackman and director James Mangold poured into the 2013 film, The Wolverine. But after 17 years of fully inhabiting the conflicted and contentious character, this latest (and possibly last) play is Jackman’s swan song for Wolverine.
At 6’3″, Jackman wasn’t exactly the ideal build to play comic book fans’ version of Wolverine (5’3″ at 195lbs officially) back in 2000, but history gives us the benefit of hindsight: Jackman has become Wolverine, and vice versa. He’s had the incredibly rare opportunity to craft his own take on the character, altering both his own appearance in wildly different ways through physical training, iconic costumes, and incredible make-up effects, as well as the privilege to explore the character’s extensive mythology, complicated history, and torturous psychology over the years. Logan is the culmination of all of that experience and experimentation brought to bear in the most brutal representation of the character yet, a tale of a violent man in a violent world that, against all conceivable odds, offers a path to redemption.
As fun as it was to watch Wolverine–and by extension, Jackman–unleash his superhuman berserker rage on the unfortunate enemies in Logan (and make no mistake, it’s damned fun), it was incredibly rewarding to see Logan interact on a human level: caring for the increasingly physically and mentally degraded Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), attempting (and failing miserably and hilariously at times) to parent the mysterious and feral Laura / X-23 (Dafne Keen), and trying to forge some semblance of normal friendship with the Munson family. This all rounds out an already well-developed character and gives us a glimpse at his state of mind and being at the ragged end of a hard-luck life.
And it’s this end-of-the-road Western aesthetic that works so well with the story Jackman and Mangold chose to tell in Logan. No, it’s not a straight-up adaptation of any comic book arcs, and I’m very happy that it’s not; there are no Silver Samurai robots, bullet-train sequences, or cringe-worthy mouthless mutants to contend with here. It’s the most grounded and visceral of Jackman’s efforts as Wolverine and you feel every shredded tendon and puncture wound; not once does the story overreach itself in terms of fantastic, except to include the expected abilities of relatively low-level super-powered mutants. Logan is surprisingly restrained here, even when it offers opportunities to go off the rails, and that keeps the focus on the title character’s final struggle and sacrifice. Make no mistake, this is the closing chapter of Logan’s story, one that rewards fans who have experienced every step of the journey with him and one that brings a redemptive end to a character who has had hard decisions and no-win situations forced upon him his entire life. To give Logan that bit of agency at the end of his time here on Earth was a beautiful thing and an emotional send-off for the character and actor who have given fans so, so much.
We’re sure you have your own thoughts on Logan, so now’s the time to share them! Let us know what you though in the comments below!