Thank you Deadpool. It was just a year ago when your film came out and you proved to Hollywood that a well-made “R” rated comic book movie CAN make money. Not sure if you planned on doing $135 million opening weekend but God bless you. After years of PG-13 films where there seemed to be no visual consequences from the damages done, filmmakers can now decide on whether to be as graphic as some of the source material they are using. The year’s first entry features everybody’s favorite X-man, the Wolverine, in “Logan.”
The year is 2029. When we first meet up with Logan (Hugh Jackman) he is a limo driver whose ride is about to be jacked by a gang of ruffians. Gray-haired and looking haggard, he implores the thieves to try their luck somewhere else, only to be answered with a shotgun blast to the chest. As the Waco kid said to Sheriff Bart in “Blazing Saddles” when talking about Mongo, “don’t shoot him…you’ll only make him mad!” And mad he becomes, springing his adamantium claws and making mincemeat of his attackers. Literally minced meat. Arms are severed, eyes gouged out, blood spurts. And this is only five minutes into the film! This isn’t your father’s Wolverine.
Packed with wall to wall action, “Logan” is a fitting ending to Hugh Jackman’s association with Wolverine. Counting cameos in other films, this is Jackman’s 10th appearance in the role that made him a star and he uses that history to his advantage. He not only knows the character he IS the character. And here he has a little help. Mutants are literally non-existent in the future and he earns his money driving a limo so that he can take care of Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who he is hiding in an old junk yard and assisted by Caliban (Stephen Merchant) an Albino whose aversion to the sun is more real than Count Dracula. Logan finds himself constantly being bothered by a young woman asking for his help. He finally comes into contact with Laura (Keen), a precocious pre-teen who also has the ability to spring claws. Unfortunately, unlike Logan, Laura really has no filter on her powers so she might kill you for a can of Pringles. Laura was part of a medical experiment where a Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant) supervised the creation of children but with the mutant powers he wished them to have. Ironically, the kids have been raised on X-men comics, so they think there is a place for them out in the world.
In a wise choice, this film is directed by James Mangold, who has given us some great personal drams like “Copland” and “Walk the Line” and his presence behind the camera (and with script duties) helps keep the film grounded. In between the violent encounters, and fans with younger children I do urge you to use caution before you bring them to this, is an emotional payoff that will stick with you. But it Jackman’s film and Jackman’s character that you will leave the theatre remembering.