On the printed page, comic book heroes are virtually ageless. They retain their illustrated youth and move with the times in their own universe. Other than one-shot tangents and playful dabbles with time travel, we do not see what they would look like or how diminished they would be at an advanced age. In a similar fashion, comic book films use a cycle of reboots and recasting to keep their characters young and current.
Blessed with good looks and an insane workout routine, Hugh Jackman has played the beloved “X-Men” character of Wolverine for 17 years. The Australian hunk turns 49 years old this year and cannot play the age-defying Ol’ Canucklehead forever. Reteaming for the third time with director James Mangold, Jackman has declared “Logan” to be his last ride with the mutton chop facial hair and adamantium claws. He picked a hell of a way to hang it up and go out.
With stunning brush strokes soaked in pathos and blood, “Logan” taps into a cask of comic book scotch that been reserved to reach maturity. This is, by a country mile, not only the best film of the “X-Men” franchise, but the best of 20th Century Fox’s entire catalog of Marvel Films. Presented as an analogy, “Logan” is to comic book films what “Unforgiven” was to westerns.
“The Great Wall” is an imposing creature feature that stands as a three-headed glamour project. You have an A-list star venturing overseas for international credibility and a splashy director landing his official English-language debut. Aiming higher in aspiration is a production company hoping to open a new and profitable pipeline of investment between Hollywood and China. Visually splendid from top to bottom, this epic adventure squeaks by on its looks and spares no expense to make sure of that.