‘Logan’ sheds PG-13 rating, dazzles

Franchise sates fans, ends trilogy with brutal film


Special To / The Advocate

DF-09972 – Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine and Dafne Keen as Laura in LOGAN. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

By Reggie Santini, Spotlight Editor

“Logan” is a dark, thrilling and emotional film. It is a huge departure from the other films in the “X-Men” franchise.

“Logan” is more of a western character drama than a standard superhero action flick. Director James Mangold delivers a version of the Wolverine character fans have wished to see since the start of the “X-Men” film franchise.

The title of the film, “Logan,” is an immediate clue that the movie is more personal than audiences are used to. Logan is what those close to Wolverine call him.

The film’s plot is loosely based on the “Old Man Logan” comic series created by Steve McNiven. The movie opens as an aged Wolverine offers his services as a bodyguard and limo driver. Wolverine eventually accepts a job from a woman who remembers his days as one of the X-Men.

She asks Wolverine to transport a child, Laura, to a place in North Dakota known as Eden. By accepting this job Wolverine draws the ire of a military group that is after the girl. Wolverine, Laura and the elderly former leader of the X-Men, Charles Xavier, flee and begin their journey to Eden.

This movie boils down to a road trip full of curse words, blood, violence and grumpy old men who are sick and tired of the lives they live. The R rating is definitely earned. There’s a heavy dose of blood, guts and severed limbs in each fight scene.

Hugh Jackman returns for his final appearance as Wolverine. Jackman has played Wolverine since the original film in the franchise, “X-Men” directed by Bryan Singer, in 2000. In Jackman’s 17 years as Wolverine he has never been so good. When actors portray the same roles, their growing boredom and complacency can lead to stale performances.

Jackman avoids this issue and delivers an unforgettable performance as Wolverine. Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine in “Logan” is haunting and heartbreaking. The once invincible mutant now struggles to draw out his claws as he faces the difficulties of old age and the tumultuous life he led. This role shows Jackson’s experience, understanding and love of the character.

Newcomer to the “X-Men” franchise, Dafne Keen, does a fantastic job as Laura. Mangold’s casting of Keen is on par with Steven Spielberg’s renown ability to cast child actors. Even though her character doesn’t have many lines, she steals scenes with her quiet mix of innocence and brutality.

Keen is fantastic at matching the tone of emotional moments while holding her own fighting alongside Wolverine. Her ability to portray the innocence of a child that just happens to be able to cut her enemies into tiny pieces is something.

Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Charles Xavier, one of the most powerful mutants to ever exist. Xavier is always depicted as the serious and wise mentor to the younger X-Men. Xavier’s advanced age in “Logan” made him change from a serious leader to being dependent on Wolverine.

This makes for some heartbreaking and funny moments in this somber film. Similar to Jackman, Stewart has been playing Xavier for many years and is well accustomed to role. Stewart handles the balance of comedy, seriousness and wisdom as only he can. His on- screen chemistry with Jackman is palpable. The actors clearly have a strong bond and trust in each other.

Mangold also directed “The Wolverine” in 2013. However, the films feel vastly different from one another. Mangold focused “Logan” on the characters and the hardships both young and aging mutants face.

Marco Beltrami compiled the soundtrack. His use of Johnny Cash songs sets the western vibe. The soundtrack emphasizes and complements the emotional impact of the situation the characters are placed in.

Fans of superhero movies, dramas, action movies and the “X-Men” franchise will all find something they enjoy. This is a stand-alone film with a little something for everyone to enjoy.