Logan is finally here, and it's likely a bittersweet victory for X-Men fans everywhere. It's a victory because once again Marvel has an Oscar-worthy epic on its hands. It's bittersweet of course because this is Hugh Jackman's last ride as Wolverine.
It's a moment that seemed to come from out of nowhere. The character has been alive and well on the big screen since 2000's X-Men, which saw the virtually unknown Jackman bring Marvel's most popular mutant to life.
X-Men represented the hopes and dreams of comic book fans. Could Hollywood actually take such an important and groundbreaking title like The X-Men and give it the respect it so richly deserved? Or would the entire project crash and burn?
Wolverine was the key. Getting the world's most dangerous mutant right would be no easy task, it was on par with Warner Brothers doing justice to Batman. One wrong step with Wolverine, and fans would never forgive 20th Century Fox, or Marvel.
But not only did Jackman nail the character, he did better than anyone could have ever imagined. Logan not only came alive on the silver screen, he did so with an edge and a flair worthy of Dirty Harry. Indeed, Jackman's iconic performance created the cornerstone for all mutant movies that followed.
Wolverine was the lone samurai, the unrepentant outlaw that had a life full of regrets but accepted who he was. He ran from his past but dreamed of a future where he belonged. Logan was a tortured soul, whose heroism was outmatched only by his desire to simply find some peace in his life.
Jackman's eyes told the story of Wolverine. Every time he stared down a nemesis, fans could see his rage. Every time he looked at a woman, his humanity shone through. Every time he fought alongside The X-Men, his courage was evident.
He was the most complex character in Marvel Comics history, and to properly relay that to film made the difference between the X-Men franchise and every other comic book project. Wolverine worked, and The X-Men worked as a result.
But after 17 years, nine movies and widespread critical acclaim, Jackman's Wolverine has popped his claws for the last time. Logan is the final chapter in his story, and is a brilliant farwell. It's the perfect swan song for one of modern cinema's most beloved antiheroes.
Patrick Stewart is once again pitch perfect as Professor X, and Dafne Keen is mesmerizing as Laura. It's a relatively small cast with a fairly simple story, but it has all the heart and drama that fans could ever want in a film. It's not just an X-Men movie, it's one of the best stories Marvel has ever produced.
Wolverine will live on. Marvel will recast the character at some point, and The X-Men will continue. But no one will ever forget the work that Hugh Jackman did to immortalize Logan on the big screen. Wolverine conquered the comic book world and he conquered Hollywood, and his journey is not over yet.