There are some films that you watch and when the credits roll, you feel as if you’ve been hit by a truck of emotions and you cannot move from your seat. Logan was such a film for me. Here follows my spoiler review of the most emotional, best superhero film I’ve seen since they’ve been making superhero films.
From the moment drunk Logan a.k.a. the Wolverine, stumbles out of his limo to confront some would-be rim thieves, you know this isn’t the 2000 X-Men film that launched a franchise. Well, Logan has always been a bit of a drunk, but never to this extent. You figure a man who has lived 150-200 years and fought in every single hellish war available during that time has to find some way to cope with the horrors he has seen and perpetrated, and especially now, in the 2030’s when (almost) all of his fellow mutants are dead and he yet remains. And then when Logan’s claws extend between his fingers and begin to be shoved through eye sockets and through kneecaps, this definitely isn’t any of the previous X-Men films. For one thing, this one is rated R, and it earns that rating within minutes.
Eventually it is revealed that Logan is making a living as a limo driver while taking care of a mentally ill Professor Xavier and living with another mutant who managed to survive into this post-mutant apocalypse. It is also evident that something extraordinary is happening to Logan as his famous healing factor has slowed significantly, and he is covered with the scars of past battles. It is a bleak, hopeless picture of enduring pain.
Things don’t get any better for Logan as he is approached by a mysterious Latino woman seeking passage to Canada, and a mercenary who is seeking what the Latino woman is protecting. That protectorate is soon revealed to be a young girl, a young girl with a healing factor and claws. Eventually Logan learns that this girl his genetic daughter, born in a lab and raised to be a soldier.
Reluctantly he begins to protect her from the corporation that designed her and wants her back and takes the girl to Canada, with the ailing Professor X in tow. What follows is a dramatic-road-trip-running-battle that eventually leads to the death of Logan, Professor X, and most of the mercenaries that were foolish enough to cross the Wolverine’s (and his daughter, X-23’s) path.
This film is bleak, tragic, stark, and occasionally humorous. Logan learns a little bit what being a parent is like, buries his last dear friend, and finally realizes the peace of death and the love of (a highly dysfunctional) family. Hugh Jackman is excellent in the role he has played for 17 years – the world weary mutant Wolverine – and Patrick Stewart delivers in spades as old Professor Xavier. The rest of the supporting cast is led by 12 year old Dafne Keen who is spectacular as Logan’s daughter Laura, the mutant known as X-23. From there, the characters range from Caliban, the mutant friend of Logan, and What’shisface, the main mercenary tracking them and Doctor What’shisface the guy who created X-23 and her fellow mutants. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that there are about 23 other mutants that were created by the Doctor What’shisface, mostly children, who are also seeking asylum in Canada. I am being facetious, but I don’t really remember much about the other children or the antagonists because they aren’t really important to the story except to foil Logan or add to the emotional stakes.
I would say this is one of the central flaws of the film, that most of the mercenaries exist to die, and Head Mercenary Guy is there to die a little bit harder, so why should they get story arcs? Similarly, the other mutant children are only glimpsed in context to X-23. I found myself wanting to know why the mercenaries were so against the mutants and what the other mutant children wanted to achieve. You get the feeling, through little story touches like the fact that the X-men had their own in universe comic book series, that they were somewhat accepted and were heroes of a sort, so what happened? The back story to this particular adventure is also scarcely filled in, as it, like most X-men films, only follows a rather loose chronology so you can’t even depend on the previous X-men films for context.
With that being said, Logan is an exceptional film, from beginning to end, and even if the story is a bit vague on the how, it is full of the why, and it tends to hit you, repeatedly, right in the feels.
I don’t know that I want to see it again right away. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but Logan is like a war film for me: it can be exceptional, but it isn’t particularly enjoyable to watch multiple times and feel good and happy after each viewing. There is no shawarma at the end, just blood and death.
In closing, I hear a black and white version is in the works. I think, after my unlimited enjoyment of Mad Max: Fury Road in B&W, I will similarly enjoy a desaturated Logan. I think that would only add to the already rich story and visuals.