“Logan” a fitting send-off to Wolverine character

Hugh Jackman has played the character of Wolverine for the past seventeen years. Having appeared in ten separate films, he’s seen the heights of the “X-Men” franchise — “X2” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” — along with the lows — “X-Men: Origins” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Now, with “Logan,” his character finally comes to an end in what might just be his best outing yet.

“Logan” is the third and final Wolverine film that exists as a standalone story apart from the mainstream “X-Men” Universe. From director James Mangold (“The Wolverine,” “Walk the Line”), “Logan” departs from the over-the-top stylized action that the “X-Men” films are known for in order to bring us something that feels much more personal.

The year is 2029. All of the X-men have died out except for a select few. Logan (Jackman) finds himself at a new low — living in Mexico, taking any job he can get in order to help care for a sickly Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Having become hardened by rough times (again), Logan keeps to himself and minds his own business. His days of being a hero are over.

At least, he had thought they were. But when he meets a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) — someone with powers strikingly similar to his own — who needs his help getting to a safe haven before the men known as Reavers who are chasing her find her and kill her, he finds himself reluctantly returning to the role of a “hero,” for better or worse.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have both stated that this is the last time they will play the characters of Wolverine and Professor X, respectively. “The three of us (Stewart, Jackman and Mangold) sat, watching the movie,” said Stewart during a press junket for the film. “And I was so moved by it. Then, the movie ended … and we had some time to sit there and, as I sat there I realized there will never be a better, a more perfect, a more sensitive, emotional and beautiful way of saying au revoir to Charles Xavier than this movie. So, I told [Hugh] that same evening, ‘I’m done too. It’s all over.’”

“Logan” is also the second “X-Men” film to receive an R rating, following last year’s financially successful “Deadpool.” In “Logan’s” R-rating, the film is able to cover new ground that was previously unreachable by the previous cinematic “X-Men” universe. Feeling much more like a classic western meets “Mad Max” than it does a comic book film, “Logan” is a gritty, bloody and highly violent story.

This R-rating feels warranted in the fact that it reflects the very psyche Logan has found himself in the film. Being completely devoid of hope, we watch him struggle to make his way through life. Laura ends up being the first thing that Logan actually cares for in a long time, and the bond the two end up making is a touching one — especially given Dafne Keen’s subtle yet brilliant performance.

“Logan” shares common ground with something like “The Dark Knight” much more than it does with “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Surprisingly touching and personal for a superhero film, “Logan” sets a high bar for the rest of the comic book adaptations and blockbusters in 2017.