The Culture Movies

'Logan' turns into a free-for-all bloodfest

'Logan' stars Hugh Jackman as the title character, also known as Wolverine, who in the dystopic world of the film is one of the few mutants left. Jackman gives Logan a withering rage that seems heartfelt, not hammy.

From left, Boyd Holbrook, and Hugh Jackman in a scene from 'Logan.'
Ben Rothstein/Twentieth Century Fox/AP
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  • Peter Rainer
    Film critic

If his public statements are any indication, Hugh Jackman is apparently hanging up his adamantium-blade claws. Set in 2029, “Logan” is the closest thing to a valedictory the Marvel universe has yet concocted. Depending on how sentimental you are about these things – me, not much – it’s a bittersweet event.

Jackman’s Logan, aka Wolverine, is one of very few mutants still extant in the dystopic world of “Logan,” along with nonagenarian X-Men leader Charles (Patrick Stewart) and albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Holed up together, their powers inexorably waning, they live out a dissipated existence in an abandoned smelting plant on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.

It turns out that there are more than three extant mutants. Laura (Dafne Keen), a young girl with a piercing gaze, is a seemingly mute mutant with metallic claws. Wonder how she’s related to Logan?

Eventually, after a pursuit by X-Men adversaries, paramilitary cyborgs, and the bioengineering mad scientist (Richard E. Grant) who created Laura’s new breed of mutants south of the border, they all face off in a series of overly gory showdowns that owe as much to Hollywood westerns as to the "X-Men" franchise. (“Shane” is explicitly referenced.)

Until it turns into a free-for-all bloodfest, “Logan,” propulsively directed by James Mangold, has its virtues: Jackman gives Logan a withering rage that seems heartfelt, not hammy; Stewart is touching in his enraged befuddlement; and Keen, who resembles here what Katie Holmes might look like if she were Carrie, has a feral intensity.

Don’t count on this being the last of Logan, though. And unless I missed something, which is quite possible, I didn’t spot the obligatory cameo by Stan Lee. Grade: B- (Rated R for strong brutal violence and language throughout, and for brief nudity.)