20th Century Fox     137 Minutes     R

This movie earns every bit of it’s R rating for non-stop blood and gore. This is Writer/Director James Mangold’s Grand Finale of the Wolverine series, and it feels like a Marvel take of a very graphically violent Gunfight at the OK Corral. Hugh Jackman gives his all playing the beast with blades after living in this character for the past 17 years. Logan is so different in this installment, but it may be his most memorable portrayal.

As Logan, he is tired and depressed. The bright new world he and the X-Men thought they were headed for, never materialized. Now it’s 2029. The X-Men Team has been disbanded. The glory days, and the X-Men themselves, are long gone and Logan’s health is failing. His power to self-heal is less and he’s drinking more. Not only that, he’s a chauffeur, left to drive a limo, suffering the indignity even more that goes along with what he has not become.

Logan is also left to care for Charles/Professor X, (Patrick Stewart.) The Professor is losing it. As he becomes more feeble physically, dementia becomes more pronounced.  He still has his powers, but without being able to control the, he poses a dangerous threat to all around him.

Because of this, Logan stashes him in an old abandoned water tank along the Mexican border so he can administer medication and keep him safe with the help of another mutant, Caliban. Mangold creates another world here, almost reminiscent of their glory days. He makes the inside of this old water tank look something like the Professor’s headquarters which was the nerve center for the X-Men. It’s like a cruel joke that you’re reminded of the good old days in this rusted out setting. It’s a horrible existence for all of them. And then it gets worse.

A woman named Gabriella seeks out Logan for help. She implores him to deliver a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to the Canadian border. What an amazing coincidence that this script anticipated and included this hot current issue. And what a coincidence that Laura is a mutant with a skill set very much like Logan’s! She, too, is being pursued by an army of corporate jack-booted killers led by bad guy, Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Nothing redeeming about this guy. He sports a skull & crossbones tat on his neck along with the gold tooth in the mold of the great Marvel villains we all know and love.

Charles implores Logan to help the child who is silent and sullen. But there’s something about her that makes you think there is good within. And when danger approaches, the blades come out, and she transforms into a stone-cold killer.

Logan is forced to use every last bit of his powers to keep Laura and Charles alive. Logan is also losing his powers as the movie progresses, yet he embarks on this one last quest not because he wants to, but fighting for the right cause is as much a part of him as the mutant DNA.

Jackman has lived in this characters longer than any other actor has played the same superhero role. This movie is so much more than another effects- driven-action film. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t play like a regulation Marvel blockbuster at all. The action isn’t bolstered by huge explosions, spaceships, cities decimated and grotesque aliens hell-bent on exterminating humanity. The violence in this finale is much more personal and face-to-face.

Logan and Laura use those retractable adamantium claws to slice and dice the bad guys, one-by-one. As the battle wears on, it’s exhausting to watch Logan being attacked relentlessly by one after another. Mangold takes us inside so we can to feel his despair and we’re drawn closer to him.

This is Hugh Jackman’s movie all the way and he carries it home with the strength and dignity that fans of the X-Men hope to see. He’s heroic despite himself and his humanity comes through in the end. Mangold even manages to work the X-Men comics into the story line, giving Logan a chance to rant about how inconsequential they were. That’s a pretty bold move. If you’ve been following the Wolverine saga all these years, you’ll appreciate this send off as both sad and satisfying. This is the most un-Marvel marvelous movie.