As far as those of a certain age group are concerned, Wolverine is Hugh Jackman. Even in the most lacklustre X-men outings, Logan’s bursts of frenetic action tend to be highlights. Although not always blessed with the best scripts, Hugh Jackman always does his best to capture the gruff demeanour, fierce loyalty and feral intensity of a character he’s got to know pretty well over the last 16 years. Comforting to know, then, that he intends to see the character off in appropriately bloody fashion, even if that means losing a decent share of his hefty fee.
Wolverine struggles with his animal nature, constraining his inner beast and striving to remain human, even as he is feared and ostracised by those around him. On screen, he’s faced an altogether different, but no less real, struggle: trying to slice and dice fools in a PG-appropriate manner. In Logan, Wolverine’s finally going to be let off the leash under a much-deserved R rating, a fact sure to have his enemies soiling themselves in anticipation of the film’s 2017 release. Director James Mangold has reportedly said that Hugh Jackman agreed to take a pay cut to ensure the film’s R rating.
It’s important to recognise the effect that Deadpool‘s box office success must have played in Marvel’s decision-making as well. The prevailing wisdom that big blockbusters must be family-friendly to maximise revenue has been turned on its head by the barn-storming success of the merc with a mouth, and we can probably look forward to a future of adult-oriented superhero flicks as a result.
Logan takes us into the future for what looks like the grimmest outing in the X-men universe yet. An aging logan’s healing factor is getting as tired as he is, failing to fix his injuries as it once did. Meanwhile, Professor X’s mental faculties are diminishing and the mutant population has dwindled to almost zero. It’s a world where the only hope lies with a young mutant girl named Laura, who Wolverine swears to protect.
Presumably the cut takes Jackman’s fee from “More money than God” to the more modest sum of: “slightly less than more money than God”, but it’s still a much-appreciated gesture. Given that Logan seems to be a retirement bash for Wolverine, and an opportunity to pass the torch of mutant mayhem-maker #1 on to his clone daughter X-23 (possibly), It’s certainly a relief to know that Marvel intend to let him let rip one last time.