As you probably know, Hugh Jackman said this is the last time he’s ever playing Wolverine. He’s played the character for 17 years and has been in all nine X-Men movies (Some were only cameos). For his final performance, he gives us Logan. Talk about going out with a bang.
Following the success of Deadpool, Logan also ditches the family-friendly superhero vibe in favor of an R-rating—a strategy that will give Fox the edge it’s been needing. And it’s that rating that gave director James Mangold and writer Scott Frank the breathing room they needed to make a film that not only concluded Wolverine’s story (until Fox tries to reboot in ten years, that is), but truly distinguished itself from the superhero movie genre. How did it distinguish itself? Let me put it this way. Picture a movie about Wolverine as if it were written and directed by the Coens. Like a No Country for Old Men, but with mutants. That’s Logan.
The events of Logan pick up in 2029, where mutants are all but extinct (I’m not even going to pretend like I can follow the X-Men timeline after Days of Future Past f***ed everything up).
Logan is old and tired, dying from the very mutation that gave him his power, all while trying to care for Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose telekinetic powers are causing seizures, dementia, and the occasional paralyzation of anyone close by. When their path crosses with young mutant Laura (Dafne Keen), who’s on the run from the organization that created her from Logan’s DNA, Charles tells Logan they must help her get to North Dakota so she can get passage into Canada, where a young generation of mutants is living safely. Though they suffer losses and face an unstoppable foe (The rumors of X-24 are true) along the way, Logan finally learns that life isn’t meaningless and that family is more important than being a lone wolf.
Do you know what I loved about Logan? Besides that it felt more like a western than it did a superhero movie. Besides that characters actually bled and lost limbs when encountering a dude with metal claws. Besides tiny badass Laura (We’ll get to her in a second). What I loved was that, for once, a sequel (I mean, technically, it is) didn’t lean on previous movies. Like you could sit down and watch Logan without having seen other movies in the X-Men franchise and follow along. Would it seem a little weird and science fictiony in some moments? Probably. Because mutants. Would it still have easter eggs for comic book fans? Of course. And it does. But the point is Logan wasn’t a slave to storylines, callbacks, and cameos, as so many are.
Also, it didn’t have a CGI f***fest for a third act that destroyed an entire city/world or required a giant light beam space portal. It was just so breathtakingly simple.
Now, for the real talk. LAURA IS SO COOL AHHHHHH. Never before has a tiny person been so fascinating. There’s a scene before you see her powers in action where some dudes go inside a building to get her, and all you can hear are guns and screams. Tiny little Laura walks out and just stares at the men waiting outside. Then…slaughter time. Holy shit, it’s amazing. Is it only amazing because she’s a little girl in an R-rated movie stabbing grown men with claws? Who cares! Even in the quieter moments—and there are a lot of those because Laura is mute for most of the movie—Dafne Keen seems like a sharp young actress. She holds her own against Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart without having to say a single word. All I’m saying is I wouldn’t be opposed if we saw X-Men movies about Laura in the same style as Logan.
Especially if you’ve been a fan of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier (He said he’s done with X-Men films, too), you need to watch this movie. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. If that doesn’t convince you that Logan is going to hit you right in the feels, take it from the dudes in my theater who were sobbing at the end of the movie.
Oh, and don’t stick around for a post-credits scene. It’s pre-credits. Can you guess who?
Listen to my Logan review on “Pat & JT in the Morning” here (at 37:40).