Is this finally the end of Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine? After nine films for the last 17 years, our previous SIDEWALKS guest plays his best known part in the solo outing, “Logan.” Our J.P. reviews the film.
(20th Century Fox)
Release: March 3, 2017
Director: James Mangold
Produced ByHutch Parker, p.g.a., Simon Kinberg, p.g.a., Lauren Shuler Donne
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
There comes a time where superheroes/heroines must get in touch with their humanity and realize they too are vulnerable. “Logan” does this by delving deeper into the psyche of this iconic character, while dispensing away with computerized worlds and other fakery. This is a much more mature Marvel, one that is creating realistic dramas featuring super-humans. They’ve evolved beyond exploiting CGI heavy landscapes packed with inhumans heralded for their incredible abilities. The only logical progression for Marvel was to set forth fervent sci-fi/dramas imbued with emotional tie-ins.
First off, much of the fight choreography felt more natural and visceral than in any of Marvel’s entities. When Wolvy goes into slice and dice mode it’s not just about knocking down his opponents. He disembowels, beheads, stabs and severs limbs. It’s that primal rage which Wolverine is known for that we finally get to see on screen.
Upon the film’s opening, James Howlett (Logan) is sleeping in the back of his limo when he awakens to find thugs stealing the wheels off the vehicle. He warns them once that it’s not a good idea to do so. Of course, they response violently with shotgun blast thinking they’ve killed him. In the same instance, he recovers quickly, with Adamantium claws retracting as though they are stricken with arthritis. Nonetheless, he manages to make minced meat out of the crooks. Stumbling back to his car, he drives off leaving a bloody trail of body parts behind him. All in a night’s work for a former hero. Yes, you’ll even hear the F-bomb fly out if his mouth as quickly as he can wield his claws. This sets the stage for hardcore hero canon that lends itself to an “R” rating.Hugh Jackman has embodied the iconic Wolverine for the past 17 years granting him true legendary status. Besides making cameo appearances in the “X-Men” franchise throughout its running, he struck it big with his first solo outing “The Wolverine.” The film proved to be an emotionally encompassing thrill ride, yet not quite as bloody or volatile as it could have been. Here Jackman is allowed to let loose — giving the grizzliest performance of his career. Logan sees James Howlett further distancing himself from his past, wiping the alter ego from his memory, and wanting nothing more to do with saving the world. Emotionally, he’s a wreck drinking heavily, barking at Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) to take his meds, and treating Caliban (Stephen Merchant) like his personal lacky. Yeah I’d say, he’s growing closer to normalcy than ever.
Things grow even more dramatic when he discovers a mysterious girl named Laura Kenny (Dafne Keen) in the trunk of his car. Laura is in trouble and in need of his protection. Slowly, we start to see the gnarled shell of a hardened hero melt away. Well somewhat. Where as before, he felt he had nothing to live for, this young girl has given him the chance to redeem himself one last time. The scenes to follow help solidify the notion that James Howlett the mortal will emerge. Believe it or not there is comedy here. James, Professor X and Laura go on the run from a bounty hunter named Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). There’s a scene where the three of them are traveling down the highway and Laura, like a typical child, starts playing with the locks on the car door. Logan scolds her and Professor Xavier is in the back seat trying to explain to him that she’s just a kid. The moment plays out like a scene from a National Lampoon’s vacation movie.
An especially touching moment is during a time where the threesome sits down to a real family dinner. After Logan, Laura and Professor come to the aid of the Munson family, who lost their cattle on the road, they share stories and experience something human for a change. The family begins to open up to them and except them as people. Professor says to Logan “you see this is what it’s like to have a family.”
I have to say the performances from the entire cast were something to behold. Every moment had weight and substance. Each scene took it’s time to air out. Nothing felt tacked on or fake or put on.
In the end, I felt that I was watching a Marvel film that didn’t feel like an overbearing superhero movie. It was refreshing and exhilarating all at once. This will certainly be the “Wolverine” movie fans will cherish.