I could use my old man voice when I say to the youngsters, “When I first saw Wolverine 17 years ago, it was a fun comic book movie, not a slasher film. Now he looks like Mel Gibson, and uses his fingers like Freddy Krueger. And the name ‘Logan’ was associated with Logan’s Run!”
Perhaps with Deadpool being such a success, with its blood and guts and R rating, director James Mangold (director of the good films Walk the Line, Copland, Heavy, 3:10 to Yuma) wanted Wolverine to go out with a bang. He was also behind the camera for The Wolverine four years ago, which took place in Japan, and was just dark enough to give it an edge it needed.
This movie was enjoyable, but it was very flawed. Hugh Jackman plays the character so angry, it turns you off. And ever since we got the terrific The Dark Knight, superhero movies have gone for a grittier, darker stories.
So, Logan is now a limo driver that drinks more than driving folks around. He’s not fighting crime. Well, unless you count some gang-bangers try to steal tires off his limo. He gets illegal drugs to give Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering dementia and a few other things. Another mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant) also resides in the old shack south of the border. Obviously, the school is closed, and no new mutants have been born in 25 years. Until a strange woman shows up, telling Logan she knows who he is, and asking for his help getting a mutant girl to a secret location. Laura (Dafne Keen) has a lot of the same skills Logan has, and we’re shown some scientific experimentation used to create her and some other kids. So of course, that means a bunch of government types are after them (played rather weakly by Richard E. Grant and Boyd Holbrook). The movie then becomes a road trip picture. Most of what happens while on the run is a bit of fun.
Keen’s performance is solid. She has expressive eyes. One minute they’re mistrusting, another they’re naive, and often they just mean business…and you’re about to get sliced up. Again, the violence is overbearing. It made my wife dislike the picture, especially because so many children were involved in the violence.
The movie also needed to be more emotional, especially since this is the swan song for a few characters.
For the most part, the movie was enjoyable. It gets extra credit for using Nine Inch Nails songs, and Jim Croce’s “I’ve Got a Name” (wait…didn’t Django Unchained use that also?).
The segments tying in the western Shane were brilliant, and worked so much better than the way The Salesman (which just won the best foreign film Oscar) tried doing with Death of a Salesman.
For me, this was merely the third best Wolverine picture (4th if I were to count the hysterical cameo he had in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl).
3 stars out of 5.