‘Logan’ ushers in the end of the ‘Wolverine’ era with unmatched perfection

March 14, 2017

Kyle Guthrie

kguthri2@uccs.edu

     Every performance, no matter how remarkable, must face its final chapter.

     This is true for Hugh Jackman’s legendary 17-year turn as the timeless anti-hero, Wolverine.

     “Logan” is a gritty, R-rated storytelling masterpiece that acts as a perfect way to send Wolverine off the screen in a justified way.

     Loosely inspired by the critically praised comic series “Old Man Logan,” the story takes place in the near future, where mutants have become endangered; no new mutant births have been reported in years.

     The audience finds Wolverine, who has aged rapidly due to his diminished healing abilities, dying from a mysterious illness as he cares for a dementia-stricken Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).

     To make matters worse, Xavier’s decaying, yet still powerful, mind is gripped by violent seizures that threaten entire cities if not controlled.

     As Wolverine works to find a way to secure some form of a peaceful life for him and Xavier, he is tasked with caring for a young girl named Laura Kinney (Dafne Keen).

     As the two begin to uncover the mystery surrounding Laura, they realize that she may hold the key to the survival of a new generation of mutants worldwide, along with the secrets of Wolverine’s past.

     For those thinking that this movie is a light-spirited, colorful X-men film will be disappointed.

     Fox took a massive risk, giving Wolverine a brutal, non-family-friendly movie as his final outing, but it paid off in the biggest way possible.

     “Logan” delivers a Wolverine that fans of the hero have been craving for nearly two decades, complete with enough dismemberments, viscera and gore to make even Paul Verhoeven a little apprehensive. Jackman headlines a stellar performance, and there is solid supporting work by Stewart, Merchant and company.

     The film is a dark character exploration into Wolverine himself, as the filmmakers analyze the long, painful toll that centuries of killing has brought and the hero’s inability to come to grips with the life he has led.

     While the action may be somewhat light in this chapter compared to other X-men films, it is intense and shockingly brutal.

     The settings are almost characters in themselves. Everything from a dismal, near-dystopic western setting, to lush, colorful forests mirror the internal struggle that Wolverine faces as he seeks redemption in what he thinks are his final days on Earth.

     The real surprise is newcomer Keen, who portrays Laura with a strange but perfect balance between rabid animal and vulnerable child. As Laura tears through villains with surgical precision, the audience has to wonder who is really being saved in this film.

     One powerful scene in the film is when Xavier and Logan watch surveillance footage of a feral Laura ripping apart guards like a butcher as the actual Laura is in the background riding a quarter-operated pony.

     It is a perfect scene, because it narrates the conflicting juxtaposition of the young girl, and it lets the audience understand exactly who she is and what she has gone through without saying a single word of dialogue.

     The supporting elements of the film are all pitch-perfect as well. The excellent sound design, the hauntingly fitting music and the tight direction hits all the right notes in all the right ways.

     There is no doubt that this film will get several Oscar nods, including nominations for writing, acting, direction and possibly even best picture.

     But most importantly, this film accomplished what no superhero film has ever done before: it created an emotional connection that made me care for the characters in ways I never thought possible.

     I am certain that this film will be my favorite of 2017. “Logan” is arguably the greatest comic-book film ever made and is a perfect swan song to send both Hugh Jackman and Wolverine walking off into the sunset triumphantly.