Movie Review: Logan

Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Dafne Keen, Stephen Merchant and Boyd Holbrook

Directed by James Mangold

Rated R

My RatIng: *****/5

The third and final standalone “Wolverine” film has arrived with “Logan.”The film is the final time Hugh Jackman will play the title character. As a result, director James Mangold has pulled out all the stops to make the film a spectacular action blockbuster and a moving drama worthy of a role honed for 17 years since he appeared in the first “X-Men” film in 2000.

The year is 2029. Mutants are a dying breed, and Logan (Jackman) is helping take care of an infirm Charles Xavier (Stewart) along with the terminally ill mutant Caliban (Merchant) on the border between the United States and Mexico. Logan also acts as a limo driver to try and make money needed to take refuge on the seas and away from groups trying to hunt down what’s left of the mutants.

One day, a young girl known as Laura (Keen) comes along possessing similar abilities to Logan. As a genetic experiment known as “X-23,” Logan reluctantly agrees to escort her to a safe haven in North Dakota while trying to elude a group of mercenaries known as “Reavers” and their leader Pierce (Holbrook). What follows is a moving and intense 137-minute epic that serves as an ideal send-off to the character of Logan that’s easily the best of the single-hero films to feature the character.

The film definitely earns its R rating, largely attributed to the success of last year’s spinoff  “Deadpool” (which also has a teaser for the planned sequel near the beginning of the film). The opening scene has Logan brutally slice apart a group of gangsters who try to steal his hubcaps, and the film keeps a bleak atmosphere throughout, lending itself to a timely social commentary. The script, which Mangold co-wrote alongside Scott Frank and Michael Green, is heavily influenced by the key comic story “Old Man Logan” by Mark Millar, and Mangold has cited anime and Western films as influences on the movie’s distinctive visual style. On a $97 million budget, CGI takes a backseat to practical special effects as the film becomes a spectacular post-apocalyptic road trip and one of the best films about a young woman fighting alongside an unlikely father figure since Luc Besson’s “Leon: The Professional.”

With the film setting a new box-office record as of this writing, “Logan” is a grand send-off to Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine. With Patrick Stewart also retiring as Xavier and the film setting up more installments from stunning newcomer Dafne Keen as X-23 (under the civilian name “Laura”), it’s a fitting and bittersweet swan song to one of Marvel’s biggest names. Don’t miss it.

Review by Steven Pryor