Logan

Logan ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

My reaction to Logan may be just as much due to the circumstances surrounding it as the film itself. As someone whose grew up during a period when there was always a new X-Men film featuring Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine, Logan is akin to an emotional farewell with a long time friend.

While the film wears its influences on its sleeve (there are two explicit references to 1953 western and obvious influence Shane), the result of this mixing pot is so bitter-sweetly fulfilling that in the end it's hard to care. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, having defined Logan and Charles Xavier for nearly two decades, are clearly just as invested in the journey of these two characters as the viewers. Both offer franchise-best performances as a pair of broken, regretful and yet intertwined individuals. 

Dafne Keene as Laura/X-23 impressively manages to hold her own in the face against much more experienced co-stars and overall minimal dialogue. Laura, as Wolverine's biological daughter whose experienced much of the same trauma, is essentially a version of him who has the chance to escape a fate as a living weapon. Unfortunately, this desire to create a foil to Logan also results in the film's only noticeable weak link; X-24, a clone of Wolverine. Even putting aside the character is a too literally a representation of Logan facing his inner demons, the character's presence/origin is the sort of comic book-goofiness that was absent in the film's previously established Neo-Western tone. 

Thankfully, that is only one, forgivable flaw in an otherwise masterful film. For one, the action takes full advantage of the R-rating and goes completely unrestrained. While the sheer brutality of the action may be visually off-putting, it never feels truly gratuitous, if only because it's made clear how Logan's violent life style is one of the reasons for the mournful, depressed state he is in now. 

While the ending, where a mortally wounded Logan quietly dies in Laura's arms, may have seemed inevitable from the onset, it truly could not have been handled more beautifully.  Logan's final words, "so this is what it feels like", are simply the perfect epitaph to a character who inflicted and experienced so much death during his life. And the final shot, where Laura turns the wooden cross marking Logan's rock covered -grave on its side, could not be a more elegant description of Logan's, and by extension Jackman's, place in this series.

I'll admit that my connection with this series and Jackman's Wolverine means I can't view this film totally objectively, but in the end, as someone who's been following the titular character's journey since its beginning, I could not have asked for a better final chapter.

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