Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Logan is everything you would want from a Wolverine movie: violent, compelling and incredibly entertaining. And yet it seemed too good to be true: the previous two Wolverine adventures were fun, but they lacked soul. Which is why writer-director James Mangold (“Walk The Line”, 3:10 To Yuma”) had to spice things up a little bit, and the result is nothing short of a triumph. Among its prime assets is Logan himself: he’s older now and nowhere near as strong as he used to be. The year is 2029, and the X-Men are almost extinct. We learn that Logan lives in a hide out somewhere near the Mexican border where he takes care of his mentor, Professor X (Patrick Stewart, giving it his very best). It seems like a quiet life, up until a young mutant shows up and threatens to blow his cover. From then on, “Logan” has a western feel to it, with slow stretches followed by explosive action sequences. Unusual for an X-Men film? Perhaps. But it works. As for Hugh Jackman, watching him control his inner strength and build up his battered body gives us great rooting interest, something that was missing from the first two standalone films. Here’s a hero that is worthy of redemption, and director James Mangold gives us all of that and more, in a movie that clocks in at 140 minutes but never feels too long. And if the movie has a few storytelling detours, I’m still willing to forgive that because Mangold gives us such an emotional conclusion. By bringing every character full-circle, he has managed to create one of the best X-Men films ever made. For that alone, he should earn the gratitude of every fan around the world.
★★★ Very good