“Logan,” the film Wolverine fans have been waiting for

The Wolverine is back in his third spin-off. This time, it’s R-rated and it’s as amazing as every “X-Men” fan had hoped. Hugh Jackman returns to play Logan, also known as the Wolverine, a role he has played in all six “X-Men” movies plus two solo spin-offs. Patrick Stewart also returns as Charles Xavier. Jackman and Stewart have been playing both of these roles for nearly 17 years. 

James Mangold, who directed 2013’s “The Wolverine” directs the tail of an aging Logan. “Logan” follows Wolverine in the year of 2029. All the X-men have died except for Logan and Xavier. An aging Xavier is suffering from debilitating seizures, while Logan’s healing abilities are working more slowly and painfully. Logan is keeping a low-profile working as a limo driver. He is forced out of retirement when he finds a small girl, played by Dafne Keen, who happens to have Wolverine’s powers, being hunted by armed men. “Logan” is visceral and emotional. It is the perfect swan song for Hugh Jackman’s “The Wolverine.”

The film earns its R rating. The film showcases plenty of gore that someone fighting with metal claws would do. Logan slices limbs with blood liberally flying. It also doesn’t shy away from adult language, though it never feels gratuitous. The violence is quick and blunt. It helps serve the bleak and hopeless tone. It’s nice to see a comic book movie use violence to tell a mature story as opposed to adding violence, thinking it will make the story mature. 

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The acting is superp. Stewart and Jackman are not afraid to bring something new to these classic characters they have been playing for so long. Jackman brings this bitter edge to Logan that has been hinted in past X-Men films but never fully explored. Stewart’s performance as Xavier has such pathos to it. You get the tragedy of the once great Professor Xavier reduced to a dying, near senile man. 

The new comers hold their own too. Keen is amazing as the young Laura, the young girl with Wolverine’s powers. She’s able to say so much with just her expressions. It can be difficult for adult actors to do this well so it’s amazing to see a child actor pull this off. Boyd Holbrook plays the leader of the mercenaries who are hunting Laura. He’s the perfect smug jerk to stand against the aging Wolverine.    

The cinematography is great. The film makes use of wide frames that brings to mind the westerns of old. It brings to mind how personal this story is. This is helped by the lighting. Many scenes are set in the middle of day. The film is not afraid of color which is refreshing in this day of grey and colorless superhero movies. 

“Logan” combines a sober tone, powerful violence and a mature story. This is the Wolverine movie that fans have been waiting 17 years for.