Film Review: Logan

logan-2017-images-hugh-jackman (1)In the near future, mutants are nearly extinct, and 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.

For seventeen years, Hugh Jackman has been the workhorse of the X-Men franchise, playing Logan “The Wolverine” Howlett, the most iconic, and perhaps most beloved character in a series of films full of superstars and superheroes.

Logan Is a Fitting Farewell to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

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The genre of superhero cinema has dominated the box office, in all of its branded, sequel-heavy glory. Logan feels different – it’s an old-school pulp western flick with an updated (three-clawed) edge. The R-Rated entry in the X-Men franchise earns its rating with its bravado of raw and bloodthirsty fight scenes – we haven’t seen Logan unleash like this before – it’s exactly what fans have been waiting for.

James Mangold has directed a gritty and beautiful film – the scenery is gorgeously dystopian, the action is unrelenting and the film is tightly plotted with real heart and genuine emotion. Logan deliberates themes of family, loss, and mortality – there’s a reluctant conscience that shines through the film.

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The characters in Logan, mutant they may be, are so very human. The performances are excellent, with Hugh Jackman finally earning the respect that he deserves for consistently delivering great work as Wolverine. In Logan, Jackman’s performance is deeper, more honest – he plays a man more than a superhero – full of guilt and regret. It’s truly wonderful, soulful and physically exhausting work – very fitting of an almost reluctant goodbye.

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Patrick Stewart also reprises his role (reportedly for the last time) as Professor Charles Xavier. He is absolutely spectacular as an elderly and ailing Professor X. Just as Wolverine’s healing powers have degraded, Professor Xavier, once the world’s most powerful telepath, has developed a degenerative brain disease, classifying his once formidable mind as a weapon of mass destruction. Patrick Stewart does some truly beautiful (and in my opinion, awards worthy) work in this film. Jackman and Stewart together, our Wolverine and Professor X, are truly wonderful – pushing and pulling at each other, sharing in vulnerabilities that are brilliantly expressed both in physical degradations and familial affection.

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In an impressive debut, Dafne Keen joins the duo as Laura, a young mutant sharing Logan’s gifts. This feisty young woman is a perfect foil to Jackman’s Logan and a lovely accomplice to Stewart’s Professor X. She’s a force to be reckoned with.

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Wolverine is undoubtedly my favorite member of the X-Men – and Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of this character over the course of this franchise has been the true heart of the story.  Logan is a great film – not only “a great superhero film” – it’s a great film, period. For those of us who loved the character, Hugh Jackman was a gift – he genuinely loved playing Wolverine.   It might sound trite to call Jackman’s work as Wolverine seminal, but it’s certainly hard to imagine anyone else in the role—a fact that gives Logan, a send-off for the character, real emotional power.

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From a big time fan, Thanks Hugh. See ya around, bub.

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