‘Logan’ is Hugh Jackman’s exceedingly somber swan song to the Wolverine character, which he has been playing since 2000, to varying degrees of success. There has been a bit of hype about director James Mangold’s very R-rated Wolverine picture, which does deliver the violence it had promised.
As the movie opens, Logan (Jackman) is basically living out of the car he drives as a chauffeur, which is in the midst of being jacked. The tough-talking thieves-in-the-works have no idea who they are messing with, which starts ‘Logan’ off on a brutally entertaining note. It’s just a shame the film never finds sustainable rhythm as the movie progresses.
The film is set in 2029 and by the looks of it, life has been tough for Logan. The world-weary character is tired and beaten down, guzzling any booze he can get his claws on just to get by. There aren’t any signs of mutants around, so Logan is caring for an ailing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) on the Mexican border.
Logan and Charles’ lives are upended when a young mutant is plopped in middle of their solitary living. Much to Logan’s shock, he and the young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), have a bit more in common than you would expect. As Logan and Charles get to know a bit more about Laura, they learn she needs to get to North Dakota. Logan, only knowing how to do things begrudgingly, decides to take her and help her avoid the baddies that are on their tail (led by Boyd Holbrook).
‘Logan’ is more of an odd couple road trip than an X-Men film and based on the series trajectory lately, it should have made for something great. The entire X-Men saga has had its share of wacky reboots but ‘Logan’, while entirely imperfect, does stand separate from the much bigger franchise, which is worth crediting here.
Mangold and Jackman are clearly committed to sending the character off on a memorable note and they try to do that by creating a character piece of a tortured soul rather than a cartoonish action picture. Their dedication is admirable but ‘Logan’ is so often tedious and self-serious to the point of exhaustion. The movie goes through large patches of lulls, hoping to bring you back in by the sound of Logan’s claws going through someone’s skull. After a while, I was checked out and I’m surprised more people haven’t been doing the same.
As for Jackman, he seems ready to put this character to rest. He has spent so many years developing him that his efforts to create a new layer are too obvious, overacting at almost every point. After a while, I just wanted to shout at the screen, “We get it! He’s miserable! He’s depressed! He likes to drink!” We are bludgeoned by Logan’s demons in an effort to wring empathy from us.
‘Logan’ will be liked merely for straying from the franchise norm, which is worth applauding to a point. At a rambling and unstructured two hours and 20 minutes, my applause and appreciation grew weary and I emerged from the theater feeling as rundown as Logan looks throughout this entire movie.