The latest and supposedly last outing for Wolverine, or at least, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Logan is one of the better comic book movies we’ve had for sure, though not totally flawless. Most of my complaints with this movie however stem more from how sloppy Fox has been with the X-men universe continuity, and not so much with the film itself. Much like the previous Wolverine movie, The Wolverine, this film pretty much exists in a vacuum from the other movies in the series. There’s a vague underlying theme about how awful Logan’s existence is because, while he never dies, everything he cares about eventually does. There’s also a brief mention of “The Statue of Liberty” which is a throwback to the original X-men when Hugh Jackman took up the role, but it felt more like an Easter egg than a plot point.
It also brings up the question of “Where does this fall in continuity”. Is it the old time line or the new timeline? If he mentioned the Statue of Liberty from the first X-men, that would imply this is old timeline, except there are a few little nods to the new timeline, like the return of the mutant Caliban seen briefly in X-men Apocalypse. Or the point about how there haven’t been any new mutants in something like 25 years, which seems contradictory to X-men 3, which showed us some future where there were clearly some young mutants in the school.
Nitpicky continuity stuff aside, the movie starts off a little rough but ends up on a pretty good note overall. It’s also worth noting that this movie, like Deadpool, is definitely rated R. Where Deadpool was more R rated for it’s crude sexual jokes, Wolverine gets it’s rating for language, a lot of gory violence, and one moment of very, very brief, non sexual nudity. I only bring this up really because it’s worth noting in case anyone wants to take their 9 year old to the film and because it kind of felt a little unnecessary. I hate to sound like some sort of grump over language, but given the history of the X-men franchise and the character, adding in a bunch of “fucks” almost makes some of the characters seem out of character and all of the extra goriness on the claw slashing didn’t really add a lot to the plot.
It all also felt a bit out of place as the movie progressed and more and more of Laura and her backstory, the young girl tagging along with Wolverine, became the focus of the film. It’s like hey, here’s a bunch of kids going completely psycho in the movie violent way possible because “Edgy cool”.
The whole film also does a pretty effective job of being a bit of an emotional roller coaster, as everyone around poor Logan seems to get harmed or killed by the people following them. Not to mention Logan himself, who is not anywhere near peak form as the poisoning in his body from his Adamantium skeleton is finally getting the best of him. He’s feeling a lot of pain, his claws don’t always work, and he isn’t quite healing as well as he used to. It certainly helps give some urgency to the character. The regular X-men movies usually managed to write off Wolverine when Magneto was around, since Wolverine can’t do anything to Magneto, The Wolverine had Logan under the influence of some poison that suppressed his abilities, I guess something needs to be done to make a guy who can’t be harmed interesting (see also The Hulk).
The core of the movie is about the interaction between Logan, Laura and Xavier as they run from a band of pretty bland bad guys. They are involved in Laura’s past, but they are essentially just an extension, spin off or figure version of Alkali and Stryker’s band, that same old repeating thread. There is also Weapon 24, who is the main baddie for Wolverine to battle. It’s not super clear what makes this guy so special other than “He’s like Wolverine only extra feral” and ultimately is pretty much a throw away nobody who only exists as someone who can stand toe to toe with Wolverine and not get killed in 1 claw swipe.
Laura manages to be an interesting character, despite being mute for much of the film. The aged Charles Xavier is also incredibly likable in this movie, though his purpose and point isn’t super clear to the big picture. He’s basically become a super powered senile old mutant, he has some mysterious vaguely explained crisis from the past, and serves as a father figure to Logan who in turn serves as a father figure to Laura, which makes a fun dynamic, but also felt like there were some pieces missing to help explain, at the very least, why Logan hadn’t just put him out of his misery already. I mean I get that they are old friends, but he really feels like he is suffering with no possible recovery, if Logan really cared he could have saved both of them a lot of trouble a long time ago by giving him a quiet quick send off. I know that sounds cruel but in the context of the film world presented, it honestly isn’t.
But alas, now I’m getting off on a tangent, and running a bit long. Logan really is a good film, it’s definitely the best of the Wolverine trilogy, though I’m not sure that it’s quite the best X-men film. It’s also a nice send off to Wolverine while also serving as an origin story for X-23, Wolverine’s replacement.