In terms of comic book character movie arc, it doesn’t take all that much to say Hugh Jackman as Logan/ Wolverine has the best one we’ve ever seen for the genre. And if it isn’t the best, it’s only, at worst, tied. From the time he hit the big screen all the way back in 2000s X-Men, all the way through until his final scene, we saw the character go through his origin, deal with unrequited love, delve into the evil of his creation and ultimately say his goodbye. It was nearly perfect all the way through. And now that final movie is crushing it on streaming, as it should be. Logan is currently #6 on Hulu and if you haven’t seen it, now is the time.
Logan picks up in the same universe the original X-Men movies inhabited though we are considerably off in the future. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is an older man, living in relative seclusion with the world now a very different place from what we remember. Mutants are no longer really a thing and the older ones like Logan are getting long in the tooth. He is slowly realizing that his healing powers don’t have the same strength they once did and recovery time is getting longer and longer.
Hugh Jackman isn’t the only one still around from the X-Men universe either. Patrick Stewart’s Professor X is still alive too, though is suffering from dementia. Some people get old and get a little more forgetful. When Charles Xavier lets dementia take hold of him, he becomes extremely dangerous, sometimes falling victim to his confusion and unleashing his telepathic energy out into the open. Logan has tasked himself with caring for the old man while also protecting the human populace from a relative ticking mental time bomb.
Eventually, through a series of events, Logan comes across a young girl Laura, Dafne Keen who has similar powers as Logan. She is known as X-23, and in many ways mirrors the rage that Hugh Jackman brought early on to the role. She’s animalistic and dangerous, scared as a kid because there are those who want to study her and keep her captive. Logan agrees to try to lead her to an escape across the Canadian border. It begins a true redemption story for Hugh Jackman as Logan, taking on one last mission.
Logan is a violent and yet still beautiful movie. It uses the entirety of the X-Men franchise to set up the story that only has two characters from the original films. Loosely based on the comic Old Man Logan (which is very much worth the read) it sets up Hugh Jackman to embody every bit of the character we saw over the years. They pulled no clawed punches with this thing, pushing the violence right up to the edge of the PG-13 rating while also humanizing Logan in such a way that we root for him until the very end, even when he’s long asked to not be the hero anymore.
Director James Mangold and Hugh Jackman had previously worked on the standalone film The Wolverine in which Logan ventures to Japan to deal with an entirely different kind of problem. That movie, like this one, also put Logan’s weaknesses, mostly his compassion, at the forefront in another excellent movie. These films make great companion pieces.
Logan was another box office smash for Hugh Jackman and company. On its roughly $120 million budget, it earned over $600 million at the box office. And rightfully so it was a total hit with the critics as well. It is sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and 77 on Metacritic. Critics called it poignant, profound, dark, and devastating among other things, with near-universal praise for what Hugh Jackman brings in his final turn as the character.
Whether Hugh Jackman ever returns to the role of Logan/ Wolverine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains to be seen. With the X-Men now officially making their way over to that studio, there have been minor rumblings it may happen. In many ways, I hope it doesn’t. This final bloody curtain call for Hugh Jackman in Logan was a near-perfect ending and it sure would be nice to keep it that way. If you have a chance, join the throngs who are watching Logan on Hulu right now.