For me, this is a hard article to write. What was going to be simply a slightly biased glowing review of the new Wolverine film Logan became something more in my mind. Of course I loved the movie and highly recommend seeing it, but the reasoning for that was something I felt deserved a more little more exposition.
A little background on my love of the Wolverine character: The first comic book I bought with my own allowance was a Wolverine comic. I grew up as a teen in the 90s and for me, the X-Men cartoon on Fox was a main staple of my Saturday mornings. It was why I got up early. Out of all the teenage mutant characters to identify with as a teenager, the one that was my favorite was of course Wolverine. He was an anti-hero for anti-heroes. Moody, irritable, hairy… all good reasons for me to love the guy, but not to mention that he was nearly unstoppable. Wolverine was one of the few characters universally feared it seemed. I wanted to be that guy. Villain and hero alike respected Logan. There is little to wonder why he became the biggest part of the X-Men universe. So back to my point. With the film Logan, it isn’t just director James Mangold honoring the end of Hugh Jackman‘s portrayal of Weapon X. No, Mangold is saying goodbye to the entire X-Men universe from 2000.
In 2000, X-Men was the beginning of the reemergence of superhero movies in my opinion. Far ahead of The Avengers or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, X-Men was a big budget cinema spectacle that began a phenomenon. In it, there was an unknown Hugh Jackman who was pressured to deliver last minute on fan-favorite Wolverine. After 17 years, I’d say he did pretty good at it. I mention 2000’s X-Men though because in the end, 2017’s Logan marks the end not only for Jackman here, but also the X-Men cinematic universe he helped launch.
Another thing about Logan is that all its symbolism and deep storytelling elements make this so much more than just a goodbye to Wolverine. Granted, I’m biased here a little but Logan really is the kind of movie that is more than it seems. Part Western, part gritty noir, even a dash of family road bonding, Mangold found a way to turn this ride into both a comic book fan’s dream and also a fantastic solo piece. An epilogue that ends the book so well that you’re still haunted days later by the whole thing. I kept thinking as I watched that if you turned those claws into guns, this would be one of the best modern western-style flicks ever. References to Shane aside about being a Western, Logan just went outside of the box and the genre and it was masterful. I think that a year from now, we’ll be talking about Logan winning some kind of Academy Award for writing, acting, something. It was just that deep and engaging.
Now, the sad business and why this was hard for me to write. Logan as a character was a huge part of my becoming a comic book fan. I remember in 2000 thinking that no matter what happens in this X-Men movie, that Jackman needs to nail this role or I will forever revolt. 17 years later, in a theater in the heart of Texas, there was a 39-year-old man crying like he just watched John Wayne die. In my mind, from here on out, no one will ever be The Wolverine on film like Hugh Jackman was. For me, he was the best at what he does. I can’t give any higher compliment than that.
Much like the symbolism that wasn’t lost on me watching Logan, this scruffy anti-hero helped pave the way for a new generation of mutants. I only hope that Logan gets the recognition it deserves as a masterpiece of storytelling and film. I highly recommend that you see it for yourself.
Meanwhile, a fan created a great tribute to Hugh Jackman and to 17 years of X-Men and The Ol’ Canucklehead, check it out here below.
Logan is currently in theaters starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Westbrook, and Dafne Keen.