Directed By: James Mangold

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Dafne Keen

Hugh Jackman has had a long run as Wolverine.  The only actor with a comparable run of movies as a comics character that's just as fabled on the big screen is Robert Downey, Jr. in his portrayals of Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Starting with Bryan Singer's X-Men some seventeen years ago, Jackman has appeared on camera as the grumpy ageless mutant on nine separate occasions.  They haven't all been perfect films, but Jackman's character has become iconic.  Alas, all good things must come to an end.  This year's Logan marks Hugh Jackman's final outing as the Wolverine, and I can assure you that this is the best of his solo trilogy by far.

The year is 2029, and the mutant race is all but extinct courtesy of a virus created by the corporation known as Transigen.  Most of the X-Men are dead and gone with two exceptions, Logan (Jackman) and America's most wanted nonagenarian Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).  Both the Wolverine and Professor X are encountering the challenges of aging as a mutant in different ways.  For his part, Logan's ability to heal is fading as the very adamantium that made him one of the most formidable mutants to walk the earth now poisons him.  Facing a different challenge altogether, Professor X, a man with arguably the most dangerous brain on the planet, has a neurological disease that induces seizures that bring harm to others.  When Transigen begins focusing on creating mutants of their own rather than killing all the natural-born ones, Logan is forced out of retirement.  More importantly, he learns that he's the father of Transigen's homegrown mutant X-23, a girl by the name of Laura (Dafne Keen).

While I'm not sure quite where it sits on the extremely convoluted timeline of the X-Men franchise, I do know that Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine stands tall amongst his solo outings.  Granted, it's not terribly difficult to top The Wolverine, and it's certainly not hard to surpass X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  All that being said, Logan is leaps and bounds above its predecessors.  Visceral and bleak, this is not your typical sugary comic book movie.  Taking the R-rating in a much darker and far more vicious direction than last year's Deadpool, Logan is gritty, glorious, and gut-wrenching.  Carrying far more dramatic heft than most superhero movies, it's the Wolverine movie we've deserved all these years, one that puts a period on the original X-Men cast's storied run.

For his final time wearing the adamantium claws, Hugh Jackman gives us the Wolverine unleashed.  He's foul-mouthed, suicidal, and a little unhinged.  He's not just the Wolverine we've gotten to know over the last seventeen years, but he's something more.  There's real nuance here, and Jackman shows us the damaged goods that Logan really is in a way that we've not seen previously.  Bringing a meatier performance with a more fleshed out character, Jackman is the Wolverine we always knew he could be.  Alas, Hugh Jackman is not the only original cast member carrying the original X-Men franchise into the sunset.  We have Patrick Stewart giving us one last dose of his terrific portrayals of Professor Charles Xavier.  No longer the wise elder offering counsel to his team of mutant students, we see a now elderly Xavier staving off his soon to be welcomed friend death.  In a decrepit state fighting off neurological disease, Stewart gives us a shadow of his former self in a very compelling take on the character.

It's needless to say this, but I thoroughly enjoyed Logan.  The grit and blood give the film a real gravitas and perhaps help it to become the best X-Men movie since Days of Future Past.  With a universe like that of the X-Men with multiple timelines and multiple actors for each character, I have many questions.  Still, there is one thing that remains clear.  High Jackman is the Wolverine across it all, and he does a great job one last time breaking out the claws.  Logan gets a strong 0.03% rating.  Don't miss this one.