By Sean Ray | A&E Editor
The “X-Men” films have always existed in a weird sort of flux. Never quite reaching the quality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but never becoming as bad as the DC Expanded Universe, the series has been without much of a clear direction since “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
At the middle of all this has been Hugh Jackman, who has played the ever-popular character, Wolverine, since the very beginning 17 years ago, making him, perhaps, the most dedicated superhero actor ever.
That has come to an end.
“Logan” is the third “X-Men” movie to focus on the clawed mutant, and according to the man himself, will be the last time Jackman plays the character. Based off of the comic storyline “Old Man Logan,” the film is is an acting tour-de-force which, unfortunately, does not have a script adequate enough to keep up.
The movie takes place in the not-too-distant future of 2029. Due to unknown reasons, no new mutants have been born in 25 years, and the X-Men team are nowhere to be seen. Logan has been hiding out close to the U.S.-Mexican border, his powers starting to fail due to poisoning from his adamantium skeleton. He is joined by a senile Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and an albino mutant with tracking powers by the name Caliban (Stephan Merchant).
Things are shaken up when Logan is approached by a nurse and a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) with powers similar to him. They need escort to the Canadian border, offering a money award. Low on cash, Logan accepts the assignment, and so begins a grand road trip across the US as the group is pursued by a corrupt company keen on getting Laura back.
What really makes this film stand out from others in the genre are the performances. Jackman gives it his all in this swan-song to the character, adding even more depth to an already emotionally-complex character. Patrick Stewart similarly adds his experience with Shakespeare to elevate the film into a full-on tragedy at times. And Keen manages her best with what little she is given.
However, these incredible performances are held back by a very weak script. The plot of Logan is predictable to a fault. With plot-elements foreshadowed and played up so much, they have no impact when they come into play. Every twist, turn and even the ending are easily guessed from the start of the film.
Furthermore, the film fails to adequately balance its dramatic moments. The first half of the movie is entirely given over to the Professor X-Logan relationship, with Laura having nothing to do (she doesn’t even speak until late into the movie).
As a personal fan of Laura’s comic book version, one of the strongest parts of her character is her constantly developing and touching relationship with Wolverine. Their father-daughter bond is what really makes the character work.
Unfortunately, these aspects are not touched on until the movie barely has any time left, which is saying something given its two-hour run time.
The action scenes are sadly average, attempting to use gore to make up for uninteresting fights. Mutant powers are used in boring ways, and most of them are very plain.
The film is good, despite these problems, and worth a watch. It is definitely one of the best “X-Men” films, but the movie’s intense amount of critical hype seems to just be from people sick of normal super hero formulas, and desperate for anything outside of it.
Give “Logan” a watch, but lower your expectations to make for a better experience. It is great, but far from perfection.