Seventeen years ago a relative unknown actor by the name of Hugh Jackman took on the pivotal role of Wolverine in first X-Men film. In the years since he has played the character in nine subsequent films.
We’ve seen the character of Logan/Wolverine in all stages of his life from his youth in nineteenth century Canada to World War 2 to him saving the future in both the 1970s and 2020s. With a somewhat complete story of Wolverine’s life out there, the next logical step had to include putting a bow on, both, his story and the original X-Men franchise.
I’ll start by emphasizing that this movie is cool. It’s a completely different kind of X-Men movie than we’re used to. Its measured, emotional, and has a level of gravitas brought by the performances of young newcomer Dafne Keen, and of course Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Both reprise their roles one last time to take the audience home.
The director, James Mangold, delivers a film with strong ties to both the western genre and samurai films. In many ways the character of Wolverine has always had the feel of a masterless samurai (Ronin). In keeping with that, the direction invokes the work of acclaimed samurai film auteur Kenji Misumi.
The film portrays tranquility in the face of the inevitable. Many of the characters are at peace resigning to their fates. The zen-like storytelling of James Mangold accentuates this and the performances put a sharp punctuation it. This movie, though comic based as it may be, is handled artfully and with reverence to the characters.
The writing is everything I wanted a Wolverine movie to be. Harking back to the Chanbara (Samurai film) aspects of the film, there’re parts that echo the ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ series of films.
Logan is entrusted to care for a child, which is reminiscent of the film Zatoichi Challenged where the titular character promises to escort a small boy to his father after his mother is stricken with illness and passes. He shares some of these classic tropes while bringing something new to the table. Mortality. Our main characters are aging and vulnerable, yet they are far from feeble. It’s a great balance of character dynamics.
With all these ties to Days of Cinema’s past, it’s no wonder that Logan delivered a poignant end to an entire franchise. Knowing we’re taking one last ride with Logan and Charles Xavier is comforting. Their chemistry has always been a highlight to the X-Men films, but seeing them both as old men trying to carve out a life for themselves in a seemingly indifferent world is absolutely heart warming.
Go see this film. It’ll show you a whole new side of the X-Men franchise. Get tickets online at LoganTickets.com.