Over the last 17 years, we have been treated to 10 X-Men movies in the series with Hugh Jackman appearing as the Wolverine in 9 of them. As it goes, the latest movie in the franchise, Logan, is a spin-off that follows the comic book series, Old Man Logan. Oh, just so you know, beyond this point will be spoilers, so if you don’t want to know more stop reading now.
Okay, if you are still reading, I suppose you don’t really care about spoilers.
First, just know that this movie is not for kids at all. Logan is similar to Deadpool in terms of violence and language. The opening scene is basically Logan defending his limo from being stripped by a Mexican gang by tearing them apart in a way that only Wolverine can.
In the year 2029, when most of the world’s mutants have been eliminated or are deep in hiding, we follow James “Logan” Howlett (Hugh Jackman) trying to make his way in the world. Logan is undercover as a limo driver dealing with the mundane drunk idiots, fat cat businessmen and the like. The entire purpose is to collect enough money to buy a boat and sail off into the sunset with the aging Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who is suffering from seizures that cause devastating effects and was the reason for the deaths of his X-Men team. Logan, we learn, is dying from the adamantium slowly poisoning him.
You can tell that both Logan and Xavier are struggling with aging gracefully. Both are intensely moody trying to make it day-to-day. They are also joined by an outcast mutant, Caliban, who are living in an abandoned smelting plant in the deserts of Mexico.
While driving Logan encounters a woman named, Gabriela, who is caring for an 11-year old girl, Laura (Dafne Keen). After the initial encounter, we find out that Transigen’s Chief of Security, Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his flunkies, the Reavers, are also after Laura. Gabriela, who was a nurse for the evil corporation is trying to get Laura, a genetically-engineered mutant created by Transigen, to “Eden” in North Dakota.
Laura is actually Logan’s daughter through use of his collected DNA. Initially, his attachment to her is distant at best even with the urging of Xavier. Eventually, due to the Reavers inability to capture Laura, the Transigen team release X-24, a Wolverine clone breed with no conscious, to apprehend the renegade mutants.
The movie is something of a renaissance for the X-Men series. It is no longer bound by the need for multiple sequels. It is truly a standalone flick that is character-driven with high, emotional energy. The acting is brilliant all around and this being the last X-Men film for Jackman (and probably Stewart) gives him a renewed sense of purpose. Stewart is outstanding as an aging genius that is reduced to a pill-popping, fragile man who can hardly control his powers. But as the movie progresses the feelings that the main characters may not survive becomes painfully clear.
In a way, it is the actual passing of the torch. We are letting go of the past X-Men and embracing the future of the franchise. No more cameos or timeline blending to sneak in our old favorites. It is an end of an era, but what an ending! Director James Mangold masterfully keep Logan grounded. There are moments of silliness (like when the kids trim Logan’s beard into the original Wolverine style), but for the most part, he stays true to harsh reality of the Wolverine’s last stand.
If you are looking for a gritty, dark and realistic movie that is an emotional roller-coaster, then Logan is absolutely for you. It provides direction and purpose for characters with nothing to lose, a lot of what previous X-Men movies lacked. Simply put, Logan is a fantastic movie and worth seeing.
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