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A bittersweet farewell in ‘Logan’ : With latest X-Men film, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart retire their roles

Feb 28,2017
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Patrick Stewart, left, and Hugh Jackman, both of whom confirmed “Logan” will be their last time playing Professor X and Wolverine, held a live video conference with Korean press on Monday to promote the movie. [20TH CENTURY FOX KOREA]
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Fans of the popular X-Men franchise will find the last Wolverine spinoff, “Logan,” a little different from the superhero plots they’ve become accustomed to. Instead of focusing on the mutants’ superpower abilities, the film will shed light on the human side of the aging professor, Charles Xavier, and Wolverine as they strive to survive in a grim reality where mutants seem to be going the way of irrelevance.

To promote “Logan,” which hits Korean theaters today, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, who have been playing Wolverine and Professor X for the last 17 years, held a live video conference with the Korean press on Monday. Both actors confirmed “Logan” would be their last X-Men film.

Jackman, well known for his particular affection toward Korea and sometimes calls himself a cultural ambassador for the country, started the conversation with a bit of Korean: “annyeonghaseyo, saranghamnida,” meaning “hello, we love you.”

“I feel bittersweet,” he said, expressing dismay that the two could not be physically present in Korea. “Korean fans have been incredibly supportive of [the X-Men series].”

Stewart, who proudly noted he was invited to Seoul by the British Embassy “many, many years ago” to hold master classes on Shakespeare with Korean students, promised to visit Korea again in person with Jackman.

Compared to previous X-Men films, “Logan” has a gloomier storyline befitting of a last hurrah. An aging Wolverine makes a living as a driver on the southern U.S. border while trying to protect Professor X who cannot control his powers. Things pick up when Wolverine encounters a girl with similar powers as himself and tries to protect her.

“It felt very different,” Jackman said of the film. “We didn’t want it to be defined by other X-Men, Wolverine or other comic book movies. We tried to focus more on the human side than the superhuman side by concentrating a lot on regrets coming from fighting and battling, and perhaps not feeling heroic inside.”

Jackman said he could not be more satisfied with the movie. “There’s nothing left to say from my perspective that is not in this film. I feel grateful and feel satisfied.”

When asked if he was willing to star as Wolverine again in the future, the 48-year-old expressed a firm stance on saying farewell to the character.

“Yes, this is my last film as Wolverine. I decided that two and a half years ago. There won’t be any more with me in it. I’ve been at peace with it. But I will feel part of this. I hope [the franchise] goes for many more years to come.”

Stewart also confirmed he will leave his Professor X character.

“This is a recent decision on my part,” he said. “It even took my wife by surprise.”

After the 76-year-old veteran actor saw the film at its premiere in the Berlinale, he said he was so moved that he felt there was no way in the future that the farewell could be any more appropriate.

“I’m very much content in my heart,” he said.

According to Jackman, the main idea of “Logan” is that “there’s no living with a killing,” referencing a line from the 1953 Western “Shane,” from which “Logan” borrows influence.

“Facing 10 bad guys on the street and slicing and battling them are easy for Wolverine,” Jackman said.

But the film focuses on what happens after, he said. “It’s connecting family.”

Directed by James Mangold of “Walk the Line” (2006), “Logan” is rated R and runs for 137 minutes.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]