WHEN WOLVERINE FIRST appears in Logan, he’s graying and tired. His claws get stuck between his knuckles and have lost their snikt-snikt responsiveness. He’s suicidal and he’s drinking too much, even for him. Guys he normally would have taken out with a quickness can get him on his back. He looks like shit—and because this is R-rated Wolverine, he can say so.
Yes, everything you’ve heard is true. That rage-filled, drunk, foul-mouthed Logan who never got to fully surface in the previous X-Men movies is finally joining his buddy Deadpool in the world of grown-up cinema. And it’s the perfect way for him to end his run.
Logan is, for serious this time, Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine. All told, he’s donned the claws nine times. It’s time for him to move on. Not that people don’t love him or the character (though the solo movies haven’t been as well-loved as the ensemble flicks), there’s just something to be said for X-ing yourself out while you’re on top—and Logan is the character at his peak: slightly broken, angry, and still in possession of just enough heart to make him insanely sympathetic. If he wasn’t a mutant in a comic-book movie, he’d be downright relatable.
The Logan Movie Wolverine Deserves
Wolverine has always been a fan favorite. You don’t get three solo movies if you’re not. But despite his hallowed status—and despite Hugh Jackman’s dedication to the character—Wolvy always felt like the sole grown-up stuck on Xavier’s Island of Misfit Heroes. He’s a lone wolf, not a wide-eyed mutant struggling with outsider status. As Old Man Logan in Logan, he finally gets to be the salty dog everyone always suspected he was.
Hugh Jackman spent years making the character his own, but he always felt like the sole grown-up stuck on Xavier’s Island of Misfit Heroes. He’s a lone wolf, not a wide-eyed mutant struggling with outsider status.
Of course, just because Logan shows Wolverine in all his grizzled glory doesn’t mean he stays free of other mutants’ drama. This time, it’s daddy issues. By 2029, Logan has sequestered himself away in Mexico, driving a limo to make money while taking care of an ailing, seizure-prone Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). He’d happily stay off the grid forever (he’s saving up for a boat), but soon a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) shows up wielding some very familiar-looking adamantium claws. She, along with scores of other children, were created by a nefarious research firm to be child soldiers. They escaped, and are heading to Canada to seek—but Laura got separated from her brood and is being tracked by the doctor who made her. She needs Logan’s help.
This being a Wolverine movie, our hero initially wants no part of it. He’s out of the X-game, and sees no obligation to assist. Then he sees that Laura’s medical files have his name, “James Howlett,” emblazoned on them. Predictably, his cold, dead heart grows 10 times. Logan, Professor X, and their new charge road trip north (in this version of 2029, President Trump apparently never followed through with that whole wall thing), leaving a trail of carnage behind them.
About Bloody Time
And that havoc deserves notice. In addition to allowing Logan to say “fuck” whenever he goddamn wants, the movie’s hard-R rating also allows him, and his equally brutal daughter, to slice and dice in ways Wolverine has never really done onscreen before. For previous X-Men films, the camera has winced or cut away when things bloody, but here everything is laid out in Deadpool-esque closeup. Director James Mangold, now on his second Wolverine flick, clearly saw Logan as a piece of wish fulfillment, and that wish was death. It’s not overzealous, but it is brutal—and for fans longing to see Weapon X go full berserker, it’s highly gratifying.
To say any more would spoil the experience, but know this: Logan earns its keep, and its rating. The cursing and carnage aren’t just there for oooh, neat! effect. They’re there because Logan is about finding redemption in an imperfectly lived life. To remove them would be to sugar-coat a story, and character, that lives on the darkest timeline. The X-Men have always been about celebrating outcasts, but Logan was the one most on the fringe. If he was going to find any kind of solace, he was going to have to go to some bleak places first.
Jackman swears this is his last turn with the muttonchops. It’s a fitting finale. He’s threatened to come back to join up with Wade Wilson in a future Deadpool movie, and it’s likely the franchise could carry on in the capable hands of Keen, but this is where Wolverine, as movie fans know him, should end. He’s saved the day enough times; it’s a fitting reward to go out in a movie that cuts to the bone.