The Right Wolverine Ending: Logan Review
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Hugh Jackman’s (probable) last crusade as Wolverine is another curveball from Marvel. Following the path of Deadpool and FX’s Legion, Logan is not among the generic offerings from the Marvelverse. It is ferocious in its violence and wicked in its humor. It also manages to bring moments of genuine catharsis rather than saccharine heart-string pulling.
Working on an alternate timeline from the X-Men franchise, Logan (Wolverine) is no longer immortal and slowly dying. The year is 2028 and Logan is working as some sort of Uber driver in El Paso, Texas. He’s then handed the responsibility of bringing the ultra powerful child Laura to Canada, saving her from an evil corporation. Laura, played by Dafne Keen, is silent for the majority of the film, which only proves the kid’s acting talent. We quickly learn that Laura was developed by the Essex Corporation with Logan’s DNA to be used as a weapon of mass destruction. When she escapes, she becomes the target of a cross-country manhunt.
Patrick Stewart also returns as Charles Xavier (Professor X), whose health is rapidly failing. The rapport Jackman and Stewart have developed over the years is liberated by the new freedom of an R rating. It’s as though they’ve been holding back profanity for a decade and can finally unleash it. Boyd Holbrook perfects the role of the sleazy bounty hunter for Essex and Stephen Merchant takes over the role of Caliban, now the primary caretaker of Xavier. He counters Logan’s aggression with snide sarcasm.
However, the new freedom is most obvious in the brutality. The body count increases and the images are gruesome. The violence rarely feels gratuitous, though. This is a darker world than other Marvel projects. There’s a feeling of disillusion in this future. Logan feels useless and morality seems to be dead. The dry, hot setting of Texas only adds to the intensity. Logan’s new life in obscurity and Xavier’s life in hiding shows a world where even superheroes can’t stop evil.
This film also doesn’t shy away from the political: from small moments, in which a couple of racist teenagers taunt immigrants near the border, to the overall story, in which an all-powerful corporation is out of control. The film was most certainly written well over a year ago, Logan plays like a bleak, but not so unrealistic vision of a Trump world. Although some of the uneasy feeling comes from hindsight, the filmmakers were probably projecting some of their fears into the film.
James Mangold’s direction at times looks like a handheld-camera; which only adds to the chaos of the action sequences, but is nonetheless disorienting. But, he knows how to craft ultraviolent face-offs and make a desert the perfect grizzly backdrop for a roadtrip. Mangold co-writes an ace script with Scott Frank and Michael Green. They provide a child character that doesn’t come off as cloying, which is no easy feat. The humor bites and the ending is definitive, and satisfying.
3.5 out of 4 dolphins.