Grade B +

Hugh Jackman plays the title role in “Logan” (Wolverine’s chosen name), a dark, violent story in the future where the surviving X-Men have disbanded; and Jackman takes whatever side jobs he can get to support himself and the elderly, frail Professor Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart).   It is a bleak existence for both men.  Stewart needs drugs to keep him from having seizures that produce psychic blasts of energy that can kill people and level a small city; and Jackman’s healing factor is severely diminished due to something poisoning his body.

The former teacher and student are barely getting by when both get the chance to become heroes again.  A mutant girl (played by Dafne Keen) on the run from mutant-hunting mercenaries seeks the help of Jackman and Stewart to take her to a mutant safe zone.  His spirit and body broken, Jackman at first couldn’t give a damn about the girl…until he sees her in action, and notices a striking similarity to his own mutant abilities.  But I believe what finally spurs Jackman into unleashing his Wolverine alter ego and helping Keen is seeing government agents hunting down an escaped experiment, which is what happened to Jackman a long time ago, causing him severe physical and mental pain that I don’t think he ever recovered from.

The three mutants are now on the run from government sponsored mercs who bring with them a mutant who is every bit as ferocious and deadly as Jackman.  It’s not even clear to Jackman if this mutant safe zone really exists; but real or imagined, the two former X-Men and the girl mutant must go for it because it’s their only hope.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Logan” is the scene when thugs are trying to steal the limousine Jackman is sleeping in.  Jackman is surprisingly calm, telling the thugs to go away.   The thugs don’t listen, instead shooting Jackman; thinking he’s dead, they go back to stealing the limousine.  Jackman gets up, extends his adamantium claws, and gives the thugs another chance at leaving!  The bad guys clearly see that they are facing a mutant, but instead of running away they start kicking and hitting Jackman!  The stupidity of people boggles the mind.  Well, Jackman goes into his Wolverine berserker rage, and what follows is a bloody fight that shows the audience early on that this movie will deserve it’s R rating.

I have read many comic books when I was in my late teens and early 20s, and Wolverine is one of my two fave comic book characters.  It’s been frustrating seeing X-Men movies that do not fully show the ultra violent side of Wolverine; but “Logan” comes very close.  Don’t expect cameos from numerous mutants, or ridiculous amounts of CGI eye candy…this is a bare bones, feel bad story where heroes are either dead or dying.  But this is the best Wolverine movie, and one of the best X-Men movies so far.

— M