Hugh Jackman Goes Out With a Bang With Final Wolverine Performance in ‘Logan’


Hugh Jackman portrays Wolverine in “Logan”. Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Melissa Burgett, Print Editor-in-Chief

“Logan” is the latest installment of the X-Men franchise and Hugh Jackman’s supposed final film portraying the iconic Wolverine, real name James “Logan” Howlett.

In sharp contrast to powered superheroes saving the world and having fun while doing it, aka The Avengers, the latest film features the popular Wolverine character saving only himself and his companions.

The film is based on the alternative story of Logan’s later life, originally printed in Marvel’s “Old Man Logan” comics. Logan lives with mutant tracker Caliban (Stephen Merchant) in an abandoned smelting plant across the Mexican border, where they care for Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from a neurodegenerative disease, which causes him to lose control of his telepathic abilities to devastating effect. Logan is found by a former nurse named Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez), convincing him to take care of her daughter Laura (Dafne Keen), who also shares Logan’s unique ability.

The action-packed film takes a different tone than earlier X-Men installments. The tone is dark, reflecting the inner-suffering of Logan and many other superheroes after their time has passed and their powers have diminished with age. The easiest comparison of this movie’s nature is Christian Bale and Heath Ledger’s “The Dark Knight”.

Wolverine has always been a fan favorite. The character wouldn’t get three solo movies if it wasn’t. But despite his high status in the superhero world, and despite Hugh Jackman’s dedication to the character, Wolverine always felt like the sole grown-up surrounded by youth. He’s a lone wolf, not a young mutant struggling with outsider status. In “Logan”, he finally gets to be what everyone always suspected he was, pure frustration.

This change in tone may have come at the hands of Jackman demanding the film have an “R” rating, allowing for blood to spill from his victims as it never has before. Yet it wasn’t the newfound gore that turned off some viewers. This film also adds an innocent-looking child equipped with adamantium claws ripping through nearly everyone around her. This aspect of violence, along with the image of a child participating in the gore, may not appeal to parents with young children but adds an emotional layer to the film’s already tear-jerking end. The amount of violence in the film is typical of an R-rated slasher, yet the emotion behind each character along with a resolution that many never saw coming redeem that initial shock.

To say any more would spoil the excitement, albeit truly shocking, experience, but Logan earns its positive reviews and its popular rating. The cursing and carnage aren’t just there for shock value. “Logan” is about finding redemption in a life of brutality. To remove the roughness of the film would be to sugarcoat a character that lives on one of Marvel’s darkest timelines. The X-Men have always been about celebrating outcasts, but Logan was the one most on the fringe.

Jackman swears this is his last film as Wolverine with good reason. Though he has mentioned joining up with Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson in a future “Deadpool” movie, and it’s likely the franchise could carry on in the capable hands of Dafne Keen’s Laura, this is where Wolverine, as movie fans know him, should end. He’s saved the day enough times; it’s a fitting reward to go out in a movie that cuts deep.