Seventeen years ago, an unknown Australian actor named Hugh Jackman took on the role that would go on to define his career in the form of Wolverine in the first X-Men movie.
He’s played the character numerous times, including having his own spin-off series and now the character has come full circle with “Logan,” a hard-R, violent, yet emotionally bittersweet finale.
The year is 2029 and mutants are virtually nonexistent, except for Logan and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Logan ekes out a living as a chauffeur and helps Xavier, who has lost his psychic ability and suffers from a degenerative brain disease.
Logan and Xavier are weathered because of all they’ve been through. But a young girl named Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen) arrives on their doorstep. She has unique powers that are almost identical to Logan’s.
They reluctantly protect her from an evil mutant organization that wants to harm her. Little do they realize, Laura can take care of herself. And when she does show off, wow!
The movie does supply some solid acting from Jackman and Stewart, including touching moments that expand their relationship deeper than any previous X-Men film. Don’t worry, though; “Logan” is not without some really funny moments, including one scene when they sit down at a family’s dinner table and try explain what they do. When Xavier tells the family he runs a school for gifted children, Logan’s response is priceless.
Writer/director James Mangold has fashioned a spectacular conclusion that is at once a great chapter in the series as well as homage to different westerns such as “Unforgiven” and “Shane.” This movie is to the X-Men franchise what “The Dark Knight” was to the Batman franchise.
Last year, “Deadpool” opened the door for R-rated superhero movies and “Logan” reinforces the idea that comic book movies can expand beyond the PG-13 territory and be something not only darker, but smarter and equally as well-suited.
As for Jackman, his final performance as Wolverine fires on all cylinders and cuts deep. Well done, Mr. Jackman, well done.
Rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.