LOGAN: What promises to be the final curtain in the Wolverine movie series rises with the razor clawed X-man (Hugh Jackman) in a bottoming out nosedive circa 2029. The still menacing mutant has degenerated into an alcoholic limousine driver tooling around dusty border towns while acting as a caregiver for a convulsion prone, paralysis upon the public inducing Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Before you can ask yourself why the hell anybody is driving a car of any kind in 2029, the two find themselves caring for a child (Dafne Keen) who’s a veritable killing machine thanks to having the “benefit” of genetic engineering mixed with an even more lethal set of steel sharp hands than the title character. This begats a familiar storyline of a “family” on the run to find protection for a child even though she manages to kill anyone hostile who gets within three feet of her. This translates to a healthy dose of dismemberings, decapitations, diced and sliced organs all choreographed with aplomb by second unit director Garrett Warren. The high body count does keep the narrative moving at a brisk pace and Jackman (LES MISERABLES) plays his role as a sort of guilt-ridden William Munny type character from UNFORGIVEN (1992) tormented by the violence and tragedy he’s left in his wake. The screenplay, co-written by director James Mangold (WALK THE LINE), sets the tone for the film as an overblown comic book pulp action skewerfest which it is. It isn’t often that make-up gets praised but I’ll give these craftsmen their due for effective use along with the workmanlike cinematography of John Mathieson. The plot is hardly original but execution and a willingness to go against the grain of typical superhero flicks plus more than adequate performances by Stewart (X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST) and newcomer Keen make this a better than average addition to the Marvel movie cosmos.

CRITIC’S GRADE: B

CLOSING CREDITS: A “mini-spoiler” lies ahead in this portion of my review so if you’ve not seen the movie yet, stop reading now. Marvel movie fanboys have come to expect some sort of post-credit epilogue or preview of the next movie in the comic book film series. It’s why no one heads for the exit when their closing credits start rolling. But imagine everyone in the auditorium’s surprise when one fails to appear after the conclusion of LOGAN. It’s a cinematic way of saying the character is really dead never to return no matter how many million reasons he may have to do so.