The X-Men were my first foray into the vast world of Marvel and superheroes in general; Wolverine was always my favorite hero out of that team. Seeing Hugh Jackman portray the honorable and aggressive anti-hero has been great since the first film in 2000 and his performances only got better through the years. The last time we saw Logan was 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, where we got a glance at the razor-clawed antihero’s time traveling exploits during the 70’s. His actions produced a pretty future for the X-men. This movie gives us a deeper glance into that future…and it’s not pretty by any means.
The film opens in 2029, where Logan is not the man we once knew; hiding in plain sight as a grizzled, down-and-out limo driver to make a living. From ferrying drunk girls to bachelorette parties and frat boys around Vegas, it’s clear this hero is no longer super. He carries around a pint of bottle of booze, drowning in liquor each day and looking purely exhausted. It’s not the Logan we have known and loved for years. At least, until someone crosses him and the claws pop out. Logan takes more of a beating than he did before, but is lethal as ever by taking body parts and killing vagrants. It turns out that the future is a dark time for mutants, especially for those who are left. There aren’t many left. And those who are still alive and kicking are barely surviving and in bad shape. Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier is frail and fights to make sense of the world around him because of some sort of degenerative brain disease. Logan looks after him while hiding out in the Mexican Desert.
But they can’t stay hidden forever as Logan is tracked down by a woman, requesting the former X-Man to take her and her daughter (Dafne Keen) to a special location. We all know she doesn’t make it, but the girl, a feral-looking mute girl, makes her way to the Desert. Evil follows her as group of bounty hunters under the payroll of an evil scientist named Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant). That’s where we find that this girl has her own set of adamantium claws similar to Logan’s and she is a part of a new line of mutants. Our heroes have to protect her from Rice’s henchmen and deliver her to a mutant rendezvous near the Canadian border.
Essentially, Logan is a high-octane road movie, but it is a dark one. This makeshift family-on-the-lamb, with Xavier as the sickly, slightly senile grandfather; Logan as the reluctant hero; and Dafne Keen’s Laura as the endangered child they must protect in order to give their lives meaning again and atone for their past sins. Xavier and Logan both have their sins to atone for; driving the emotional train for audiences, not knowing how far it will go. This movie was a deep cut into the father-son relationship between Xavier and Logan as Logan does his best not to care too much, Xavier tries to break through his shell to make him see what he’s always missed out on. Director James Mangold shoots the film as a grundgy, gritty palette. There is not a lot of hope in this movie and, for once, the world is not on the line. This movie is about saving one special – and very, very violent child. With Laura having mutant physical gifts similar to Logan’s, there is a melancholy to their relationship. She represents what Logan never slowed down to have and he struggles the whole movie to embrace her role in his life. The loner has to finally learn how to put someone before himself. As typical as that sounds, the emotional delivery is what works well enough to cause audiences to get choked up.
I’ll admit that I did get choked up at how well executed this movie was. Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman showed that the strings were taken off for this film, displaying the fun they had playing off of each other, the comedic moments to balance out the seriousness, and the emotions they caused us to feel. This Rated-R installment into the X-men franchise is the Wolverine movie we, as fans, deserved. Hugh Jackman definitely saved their best for last. Thank you, Hugh and Patrick.