WARNING: The review contains spoilers. You've been warned.
This year is 2029 and Professor Charles Xavier's dream is dead, as a year ago, his school was shut down and most of the X-Men died, and mutants are dying off with no new ones seeming to have been born in 14 years. Logan has given up being Wolverine, resumed using his birth name "James Howlett", and is now living near the Mexican board in hiding. Along with the mutant tracker Caliban, Logan cares for a 90 year-old Xavier, who is now suffering from a neurodegenerative disease and has a contentious relationship with Logan. To care for Xavier, Logan is now working as a chauffeur and hustling for prescription drugs. However, Logan himself also isn't well as his healing factor is going out, causing the adamantium on his bones to poison him and age normally.
However, one day, Logan meets a nurse named Gabriela, who asks him to take her and a little girl named Laura to North Dakota, only for Gabriela to be murdered by a group working for the company Transigen called the Reavers, led by Donald Pierce. However, there more to Laura then she seems as she has similar powers and claws to Logan. Can Logan help her before it's too late and figure out what's going on?
So this is how a 17-year ride ends. Back in 2000, I went to see the first X-Men with an uncle of mine with an unknown actor cast as Wolverine and in another role, a popular fancast made reality. Well, 17 years later and everyone knows who Hugh Jackman is and we're here to talk about his and Sir Patrick Stewart's swansong in their respective roles of Wolverine and Professor Xavier.
First off, congratulations, Logan, you actually beat the third movie curse; granted, that's in part because after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there was nowhere to go but up, but still, you beat it.
To get this out of the way, I agree with LB-Artwork that in some ways, this retreads territory covered in The Wolverine: Logan's hit hard times, done with being Wolverine and tired of life, the X-Men are gone. Outside of his healing factor going out and taking care of Xavier, he's in a similar place to where he was at the start of The Wolverine. LB-Artwork is also right in that it doesn't really trend any new ground despite what a lot of people like to think otherwise, as a lot of it is ground covered by other movies and shows; even the stripping down of the fantastical elements was something done in works like The Dark Knight Trilogy and the first season of Arrow.
This doesn't make it a bad movie, though.
Make no mistake: this is a dark and brutal movie. Deadpool was a comedy, this is a serious movie with serious stakes. People do die, including characters we grow to care about. This is a movie where Wolverine and X-23 kill people and in very graphic ways. You will likely feel depressed after watching this movie.
I know Jackman said he feels that this takes place in its own universe, but if we are to assume that it does take place in the future after Days of Future Past, then James seeing that his attempts to fight for a better future go to crap regardless of his actions, as well as what happened with Xavier and his own body going to crap would have a negative effect on him. Hell, at least in The Wolverine, he was still in good health, but here, he's going to crap—and unlike in that movie, there was going to be no happy ending. I suppose, it's fitting that James died as he lived a lot of his life: fighting. Also, if I'm to be honest, I did feeling myself tear up a little with James's death and funeral. It was also nice to see James using his birth name again.
I did like the tragic irony that Xavier's greatest asset, his mind, has now betrayed him. As we get older, we can no longer do the things we did when we were younger as well and sometimes, our minds can start to go—and Xavier is no different, as he's starting to go senile and as a result his powers are no longer under his control. His relationship with James has also gone down the drain as James is trying to take care of him, but Xavier doesn't like being drugged and isolated, even withholding that Xavier accidentally killed the X-Men. I don't like the fact that Xavier says "Fuck", but then again, given everything's been taken from him, I kind-of don't blame him in this movie, as he's a broken man himself. I do wish Xavier also went out fighting, though, instead of X-24 just stabbing him in bed.
It was nice to see X-23 in a movie, though I do wish she was a teenager as in the comics. Still, she had a nice arc as she learned about the outside world and bought new hope to Xavier when she first appears and James when he learns that Eden is real. What happened to her beforehand is still nightmarish and her interactions with James and Xavier were a highlight of the movie. Also, we see that the path to get her to Eden was wrought with danger as people died, including the Munsons and Charles after the Munsons let James, Charles, and Laura stay with them, and how all of this affects Laura.
I do wish Sabretooth came back. The film series didn't really do anything with their relationship outside of Origins and that isn't canon anymore. Creed would've been perfect as the final villain James fights—but alas we got another Wolverine clone. Hell, as LB-Artwork pointed out, even Daken, Omega Red, or Cyber would've worked. Between all of them, why resort to another clone of Wolverine? That had options and decided not to use them and wasted potential here.
The villains could've been better. I really never pictured Donald Pierce with a Southern accent—but then again, this really isn't the mutant-hating bigot of the comics, either; I mean, this guy does hate mutants, but not to the same extreme. Rice is also a racist monster like in the comics—but he's not as compelling as Stryker was. They don't have to be sympathetic, but they should also be entertaining to some degree. Ultimately, they were still a threat and they were serviceable, but only that: serviceable, nothing more.
I wasn't expected to see Rictor in this movie, but it was nice to see him here as the leader of the Eden kids. They didn't have to do that, but I'm glad they did. Also unexpected, but it was nice to see Caliban again, and so soon after Apocalypse and with a meatier part here. He's clearly a better person than he was in Apocalypse and it makes wonder what wonders to case this change of heart and what happened when he was working for Transigen. That said, it was sad to see him go.
I do agree with comments made in this video that I think it would've been more believable if the Westchester Incident was longer in the past than just a year before the events of this movie, but otherwise, it works to explain why James and Charles are hiding.
Well, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are leaving on a high note. Dafne Keen also does a really good job as Laura, as did Jason Genao as Rictor and Stephen Merchant as Caliban. Richard E. Grant and Boyd Holbrook were also good in the respective roles of Rice and Pierce.
This is a dark, heavy movie and not for everyone, but it is a good movie and I recommend it.
So what happens now? Jackman's retired from the role of Wolverine—and let's not kid ourselves, Fox will probably bring Wolverine back in some form in future movies (wish Marvel would just break down and actually resurrect Wolverine in the comics). At this point, I think Fox should just pull the pull on the X-Men film series as it is and either give back the rights to Marvel (or at least try to work out a similar deal with Marvel that Sony did) or just do a proper reboot since at this point, continuity is convoluted and even if it wasn't, this is a good place to end as it is. I know movies are in works, but we really don't need any more films in the incarnation.
Lastly, goodbye, Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart, it's been a fun, if bumpy, ride and you'll be missed as these characters, but again, you two went out on a high note.