‘Logan’ gives Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine strong finale

The day has finally arrived.

James Mangold’s “Logan” is here and it is everything the hype led viewers to believe. It is a haunting, brutal and emotional farewell for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

The year is 2029 and the mutant race is basically nonexistent. Logan (Hugh Jackman, “Eddie the Eagle”) passes by as a chauffeur while acting as a caregiver for a frail and elderly Professor X (Patrick Stewart, “Blunt Talk”), who has developed a unique case of Alzheimer’s, with the help of former mutant tracker Caliban (Stephen Merchant, “Hello Ladies,”). Their rather simple existence gets turned upside down when Laura, aka X-23  (Dafne Keen, “The Refugees”), ends up at their door. She is the first new mutant to be discovered in years and, in many ways, is like Logan, but she is being pursued relentlessly by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook, “Narcos”) and his Reavers.

Fans have been looking forward to a true solo Wolverine film for years. “X-Men Origins” was an absolute mess, then “The Wolverine” had a few things that were just lacking. When Jackman announced they would loosely base his final portrayal as Wolverine on Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s comic book miniseries “Old Man Logan,” fans knew they were finally getting what they wanted.

A lot of critics have compared “Logan” to “The Dark Knight,” symbolizing that this is the installment that stands out from the rest of the franchise as something so much more than a comic book movie.

Suicidal thoughts, mental illness, alcoholism and death are all themes that the characters deal with in “Logan.” They are not traditional elements for a superhero movie, but that just proves its uniqueness even more.

“Logan” was an extremely personal project for a lot of people involved. This is Jackman ‘s and Stewart’s last ride as Logan and Professor X, respectively, after nearly 20 years of playing their characters. However, it is not being discussed enough that “Logan” is Stewart’s last tide as well as Jackman’s.

These two have had to endure being in some sub-par X-Men films, but have always stood out in their roles. They have been able to bring these characters to life movie after movie and are arguably the best depictions of any comic book characters on screen.

Holbrook and Merchant also shine in their supporting roles. Especially Holbrook’s Pierce. His cool southern drawl when trying to intimidate Logan plays so well on-screen. The use of these smaller villains rather than giant epic ones has been more effective in comic book movies lately.

There has been talk of restarting the X-Men franchise or giving the rights back to Marvel Studios, an idea that did not seem so bad prior to seeing “Logan.” However, Keen’s X-23 deserves to continue her story. While the next X-Men film will focus on the young versions of the popular characters and not follow any Xavier/Magneto storylines, it will be interesting to see if they can eventually incorporate X-23.

It is astounding to see what Logan’s claws can do in an R-rated film. Audiences have never been able to see the full damage, due to more family-friendly ratings in the past, but the horrifically bloody action sequences featured in “Logan” are just awesome. It really completes sending Jackman off on the note he deserves.

From the jaw-dropping opening scene to playing Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” during the end credits, “Logan” is one of the best theater experiences to happen in a while. Hold in your tears because it truly is the end of an era.

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