By Erwin M. Mascariñas
HOW to perfectly end Hugh Jackman’s 17 year run as the character we all came to love portraying the ravage beast with super healing ability and adamantium skeleton known to us all as Wolverine? Give them Logan, the third and final Wolverine movie in the Marvel – 20th Century Fox cinematic universe.
The movie was somewhat based on the comic book Old Man Logan from 2008, but the similarity between the comic and the movie are very minimal to say the least. Making the 2008 book more like a guide on where the direction of the movie they want to head and less of an entire adaptation.
The movie is set in year 2029, a world where mutants are on a brink of extinction, and a world where no new mutants have been born in 25 years. Here the character of James “Logan” Howlett, better known as Wolverine played by Hugh Jackman, is far from that what we know as he is getting older and his mutant healing ability is not the same as what it used to be.
This is the first X-Men movie showcasing a solid emotional acting performance from Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. This is the Jackman performance that earned him the Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 2013 for Les Misérables. For the very first time, I’ve seen Wolverine go on a raging berserker rampage without giving the audience the feeling that he is holding back.
Another amazing performance was that of Patrick Stewart who reprised his role as Professor Charles Xavier. We might have seen good performances from Stewart in the past, but his portrayal of a sick old vulnerable telekinetic mutant who is suffering from a neurodegenerative disease was far better than any of the previous X-Men movies.
But the unexpected performance came from a new comer who played the role of the Weapons-X program Wolverine clone, a girl named X-23 who was portrayed by Dafne Keen. Logan is Keen’s first movie and she only acted on the television series The Refugees. Yet amid her lack of experience, she gave out a compelling performance of believable pain, rage and loss even if her role did not gave out that much dialogue.
Logan is one hard-core violent film which gave its R rating, but amid the carnage for me, this is the best Marvel mutant movie to date, that completely connects its audience to the characters of the aging Wolverine and Charles Xavier but also builds an emotional attachment to a well-written and well laid out cohesive plot.
Surprise, Surprise: X-24
The movie provided a surprise villain that I haven’t seen or read on the comics, a new genetically created mutant identified as X-24. So for most comic book fan, such as me, it was a huge surprise seeing Logan’s younger identical clone X-24 beating and shredding off the old original version.
Well, let’s consider that throughout the years, or after thousands of Marvel comic book variations, the weapon X program has been responsible for the creation of several notable characters such as Deadpool and X-23 to name a few, we’ve never came across anything named X-24, although it was mentioned in the comics that there was still genetically processed 24 to 50 on the test tubes being grown, it was destroyed by X-23 before she run off from the Weapons X facility.
After digging and research, the closest we can find to X-24 was a cyborg replica of Wolverine named Albert that appeared on 1991’s comic Wolverine No. 27 issue.
But the surprise was well worth it; after all in the world with almost without mutants, it was hard to find a formidable opponent that can fight toe-to-toe with Wolverine even in his old stage with malfunctioning healing ability. So I will give the creative writing team thumbs up on this initiative.
The movie and the direction do not only cater X-Men fans but a movie that everyone can relate even without seeing all the previous Marvel mutant movies. For the very first time, we have a comic book movie that really dwells deep into the humanity of the mutant characters.
The movie transcends the how we look at comic book adapted movies into a different dimension, a new perspective that can stand alone by itself even without the Marvel X-Men cinematic universe. This time the studio gave director James Mangold who also co-wrote the film, the freedom it deserves, let’s not forget that in both X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013), 20th Century Fox interfered with the final production output just to fit the movie into the continuity of the entire X-Men universe thus the first two movie suffered a lot in terms of creativity and storytelling.
This movie about a reluctant hero who discovers what he lost in all the years while he fought so hard for a belief, friends and convictions. This time he fights for a family he never had or never dreamt of having, a journey of self-discovery, a fight for self-forgiveness, a perfect ending for Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine.
Logan gets a well deserving 4.8 out of 5 star rating.