Logan: Brutal But Satisfying Swan Song Is The Most Successful 'X-Men' Movie Yet

“Logan” is Hugh Jackman’s ninth (?) appearance as the titular mutant, and the third standalone film for the knife-knuckled Wolverine, completing the trilogy with something fans have long waited to see: Wolverine’s adamantium claws slashing through human beings like they were blood-filled piñatas.

Yes, we’re in HARD R-rated territory here, with Logan (and others) doing fatal, bloody damage to numerous people, swearing like sailors — even kindly old Professor X — all the while.

No longer restrained by a PG-13 rated, director James Mangold (who also made 2013’s “The Wolverine”) gets to show the “does not play well with others” X-Man’s anger, pain, and violence in bloody, graphic detail.

Sometimes this makes scenes more intense than their counterparts in other comic book movies; sometimes it only makes them more graphic. The film feels nothing like a fantasy-oriented superhero flick (there’s not even a post-credits scene teasing the next film), and it plays instead as a compelling, if slightly overlong, adult, 21st-century Western with a tinge of sci-fi. It’s good. It’s very good, but it can be grueling.

Set in not-too-distant future of 2029, all mutants are now dead or in hiding, and it seems that no new ones are being born. Logan — often drunk, and a shell of the fierce fighter he once was — is working as a chauffeur in El Paso, caring for the dying Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whom he’s stashed across the border in a structure that prevents his dangerous brain waves from getting out or being detected.

Albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant) tends to Charles’ daily needs while Logan works to save up money to get them all somewhere safe, literally, sailing off into the sunset.

Our reluctant hero soon finds himself saddled with a complication, a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) who has mutant powers suspiciously like his own, and who is also in need of getting somewhere safe. Largely silent to the point of appearing mute, what she lacks in conversation she makes up for in slicing through the limbs and torsos of henchmen (don’t worry, they’re the bad guys). There is an everlasting supply of henchmen to be skewered and beheaded, sent by a robotic-armed character named Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) who represents certain mutant-oriented sinister forces, and who looks distractingly like a much healthier adult version of Macaulay Culkin. Seriously, Google Boyd Holbrook and Macaulay Culkin and look at them side by side. It’s freaky. But I digress...

As usual, Wolverine’s worst enemy is himself.

Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Frank (”The Wolverine”) and Michael Green (”Green Lantern,” but don’t hold that against him), doesn’t hide his Western movie influences.

At one point, the characters watch Shane on television. With its violence-haunted protagonist, Logan follows the tropes and structure of many classic Westerns, including a sidetrack where Logan, Laura, and Charles help a farm family in need of justice. SEMI-SPOILER WARNING: Don’t get too attached to any of the characters in this film.

There are several brutally thrilling chases, fights, and showdowns in the film — Wolverine is sick and deteriorating, but Jackman is in fine form, and young Dafne Keen is an absolute firecracker as Laura — these are balanced by introspective scenes focused on Logan’s internal misery, regret and his uneasiness with the very notion of “family.”

In the denouement of the latest installment of the X-Men franchise, Logan (2017), Wolverine is finally, supposedly, put to rest. We have to say “supposedly” because Wolverine has died ten times in the world of comics, a fact that has certainly contributed to his increasingly gloomy demeanor over the years. He has not yet come back from his latest comic book death – enshrined in the very metal that made him lethal, adamantium – so perhaps after almost twenty years spent in the film series, he may actually stay dead

Ultimately, “Logan” is a fittingly funereal swan song for Jackman’s version of the character (if Ryan Reynolds is unable to talk him into making a cameo in “Deadpool 2,” that is), one which should please viewers who are emotionally invested in him, and “Logan” does deliver on the emotional level, allowing Jackman (and Stewart) to imbue their characters with more depth, more vulnerability than they’ve ever been allowed to before, delivering moving — for some, to tears — performances that are arguably their most powerful ever in the roles.

Only barely tethered to the other X-Man films, “Logan” is an appropriate, if exhausting, sometimes hard to watch elegy.

FOX's latest entry in their X-Men universe has also been their most critically acclaimed, and James Mangold's Logan continues to rake in considerable box office as it closes out its third week in theaters.

Logan has now amassed $184 million domestically and $339 million overseas, which gives Fox's critically acclaimed X-Men spinoff a grand total of $523 million worldwide.

Though Hugh Jackman's Wolverine swansong did suffer fairly significant drops over the past couple of weeks thanks to the releases of Kong: Skull Island and Beauty and the Beast, the James Mangold-helmed film has still managed to claw in some decent business - especially for an R-rated picture.

As impressive as this is, Logan still has a ways to go if it hopes to catch the studio's other R-rated X-flick, Deadpool, which took in an unprecedented $783.1 million by the time it finished its theatrical run last year.

(Comic Book, Comic Book Movie, Clare More Progress, Bright Lights Film) 

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