Director: James Mangold
Writers: Scott Frank
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
Genre: Sci-Fi Drama Action
I’ve been into X-Men since my teens. I’ve seen all of the films and one of my favorite characters is definitely the Wolverine. Throughout the cinema franchise, he has had the most character development. He went from a roguish street fighter to part of the X-Men family, but now that the X-Men have all gone but Charles, Wolverine is suffering from a deep depression and loss of purpose. This is the final Wolverine film confirmed by Hugh Jackman, the man who brought Logan to life on the big screen. I went into the theater knowing that I’m probably going to cry and well, I was right.
Violence/Scary Images: As many of you probably suspected, this movie is quite bloody. Mangold lets Wolverine use his claws to the fullest and that comes with a significant amount of gore, including head stabbings, head severing, limb severing, throats slit, and deep lacerations. There are two close-ups on severed heads. Laura deals an equal amount of damage to her victims. Characters are also shot brutally including directly in the face and gored with a tree limb and a harpoon. Caliban also suffers severe burns. Also, Logan is addicted to cutting though he only does it once on camera. There are some disturbing images of laboratory child abuse and taking advantage of immigrants. The child abuse includes the adamantium surgery done on Laura and children implied to be euthanized.
Language/Crude Humor: There is prevalent use of the f-bomb. I lost count of how many times it was uttered, especially by Wolverine. Sh** was used several times along with d***, a**, d***k, and Jesus used as a swear.
Spiritual Content: There is a Christian family that is actually shown in a good light, which surprised me since the X-Men franchise usually takes a liberal standpoint on religion. Logan mentions that Charles said in the past that the X-Men were part of God’s plan, but now Logan believes they’re really God’s mistake. At one point a cross is erected on a grave, but another one of the character takes the cross down and tilts it into an X. I get the sentiment, but it felt a little sacrilegious.
Sexual Content: The movie would have had no sexual content if a prom girl hadn’t flashed Wolverine her breasts. I found this extremely unnecessary.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: Logan drinks heavily and for a good portion of the film he has a bottle in his hand. Some of the characters use drugs to enhance their mutant abilities.
Other Negative Content: This movie definitely isn’t appropriate for children. It is a brutally honest film that tackles child abuse, depression, and immigrant abuse.
Positive Content: Despite all of the gore and sadness of this film, there is a positive message to be found. Logan believes that because of all he’s done, all of the people he’s hurt whether that be directly or indirectly, he doesn’t deserve a good ending to his story. He’s punishing himself whether that be his crappy job or his addiction to cutting. Charles urges him to let go of his guilt and find peace. And without spoiling anything, Logan does finally find the purpose and peace he wanted.
Logan has gone from hero of the X-Men to a limo driver on the border of Mexico, using all of his money to buy food, alcohol for him, and medicine for the ailing Charles Xavier. The once fierce Wolverine is now sick and can no longer heal as quickly as he used to. He feels like he’s lost his purpose in life as he waits for Professors X to die just like the rest of his friends. A woman named Gabriela finds Logan and pays him to take a young girl named Laura to a safe haven in North Dakota. However, Logan soon finds out that this girl is a mutant who has his DNA and is being hunted by Donald Pierce and the Reavers.
Seeing Logan (Hugh Jackman) so degraded was heartbreaking. I’m used to the strong, sarcastic, feral man, not this broken, sick, bitter shadow of himself. Equally heart-wrenching was the once powerful, brilliant Professor X (Patrick Stewart) reduced to a frail old man dealing with dementia and seizures. The ray of hope between these two broken men was Laura (Dafne Keen). Though she had been through almost as much as Charles and Logan, she still had the potential to have a better life than they did.
Each of these actors did excellently with their roles. Both Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman almost made me cry in their performances. Dafne Keen is extremely talented as Laura aka X-23. I hope she wins an award for this role, because she deserves one. She had to act like basically a young female version of Wolverine with fierceness and feral fighting moves. Her bestial growls gave me chills. She also didn’t have any lines until the latter half of the film, so she had to work up emotion in many scenes while being silent, which is very difficult. The other actors did a good job at their roles as well, but these three definitely stole the show.
The plot really impressed me. It was well-woven with great motivation for each of the characters and unfolding mystery. I love the inclusion of the literal X-Men comics into the plot. Mangold was wise to even include brief humorous moments in the film to break up some of the tension and none of the humor impeded the pacing of the story. The pacing had to be some of the best I’d seen throughout the movie. I never once checked the time. I was thoroughly engrossed in the film and I couldn’t tell how much time had passed until I recognized the signs of the climax.
I love the setting choices from the Mexican border to Oklahoma City to the coniferous forest to the desert in North Dakota. I feel like I experienced parts of the US normally not highlighted in film. I also love the choice of costumes chosen for Logan. Throughout the film, we slowly see him transform back to his true self by just what he’s wearing.
Overall, I believe it was a well-done film–even though it did leave me with a sad feeling while walking out of the theater (and there was no signature end credits scene). It left me with the hope that mutants will come back, but it also made me sad because this is the last I’ll see of the one and only Wolverine.
The Bottom Line