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Wolverine bids violent farewell in ‘Logan’

First Published      Last Updated Mar 09 2017 05:57 pm


Review » Hugh Jackman returns in a superhero movie that’s plotted like an old-time Western.

"Logan" is a bit of a departure in the "X-Men" film series. It's certainly a farewell.

No, it's not a spoiler that this is the third and final Wolverine film; that it's Hugh Jackman's ninth and final appearance as the character.

It's a stripped-down version of the big-budget "X-Men" films. It doesn't rely on huge amounts of CGI or spectacular stunts. It's the story of a man who never really wanted to be a hero being forced into the role one last time.

And this film may well appeal more to the fans of the comic books than fans of the films — it's closer to the Wolverine of the graphic novels, in a lot of ways.




"Logan" is something different in the superhero genre, but it's something that's been done repeatedly in film. Co-written (with Michael Green and Scott Frank) and directed by James Mangold, who also helmed 2013's "The Wolverine," this is an ever-so-slight twist on a classic Western formula — the aging hero who's trying to put his past behind him is called back into action one last time to fight for justice and protect a youngster.

The only real difference is that Logan doesn't ride a horse and has those claws in his hands.

"Logan" takes place in 2029, a grim future where mutants are dying out. There hasn't been a new one born in 25 years, and the old ones are dying. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is past 90, and his degenerative brain disease turns him into an unwitting weapon of mass destruction. Logan has hidden Professor X in Mexico and is trying to keep him calm until he dies.

As for Logan, he's driving a limousine; he's drinking way too much; and his healing powers aren't what they used to be. When a desperate woman (Elizabeth Rodriguez) approaches him looking for help and protection for a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), Logan isn't interested.

But when the Bad Guys murder the woman and Logan learns that the young girl is a mutant whose powers very closely resemble his own, he reluctantly steps up. And then the chase is on.

There are numerous close calls and battles. "Logan" is filled with exciting and well-crafted action sequences.

It's also filled with innocent victims of horrific violence.

While the big-budget "X-Men" spectaculars were clearly meant for the masses — and for the younger filmgoers — "Logan" clearly is not. It completely deserves its R rating. The second word spoken on screen is an F-bomb, and there are dozens that follow.

And the violence is frequent, graphic and gruesome.

The conjecture is that Fox, having made boatloads of money from the R-rated "Deadpool," isn't exactly worried that this is a mistake. And it probably isn't.

Jackman, who first starred as Logan/Wolverine 17 years ago, turns in a great performance. He's clearly relishing the chance to play the character one last time in a project that's not just a good superhero movie, but a good movie, period.

Comic-book fans will appreciate the ending … although non-comic-book fans may find it more than a bit cheesy.

spierce@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ScottDPierce

 

AT A GLANCE

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‘Logan’

In a dystopian near future, Wolverine goes on one last, extremely violent adventure to save a young girl.

Where » Theaters everywhere.

When » Opens Friday, Feb. 17.

Rating » R for graphic violence and language.

Running time » 137 minutes.


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