Logan is the superhero movie that other superhero movies aspire to be. Movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (i.e. The Avengers) are all polished into similarity, and movies in the DC Cinematic Universe (i.e. Batman v. Superman) are so “gritty” that they leave a bad taste in viewers’ mouths. Logan has action, heart, emotion, characters the audience can identify with, and a well-developed story while still remaining true to the main role. Logan is Hugh Jackman’s, along with Patrick Stewart’s, magnum opus as their X-Men characters.
When Logan begins, the year is 2029 and mutants have almost ceased to exist. The genes of normal people have stopped mutating—a new mutant hasn’t been born in 20 years. Logan (Jackman) a.k.a. Wolverine is grinding his way through life, living in Mexico. He works as a glorified Uber driver, saving money to buy a boat. He wants this boat so that he and Charles Xavier (Stewart) a.k.a. Professor X can live out the rest of their days at sea, away from other people. Logan is an alcoholic, cannot heal as fast as he used to, and has grown increasingly sick. In addition to being wheelchair bound, Charles has a degenerative brain disease which gives him seizures. His telepathy makes these seizures very dangerous for the people around him, freezing them in space and stopping their breathing. Their X-Men glory days are far behind them.
Logan is approached by a woman named Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez) who offers him $50,000 to drive her and a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to North Dakota. He refuses to help in traditional Wolverine fashion. He is then found by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), an agent from a shadowy government organization. Pierce is looking for Laura, claiming that she belongs to the company for which he works. After Pierce leaves, Logan decides that, because he needs the money, he will drive Gabriela and Laura. When he arrives to retrieve them, he finds Gabriela dead. Logan soon learns that Laura is not an ordinary girl—in fact, she is also a mutant, but one created by scientists instead of a mutation. She has an adamantium skeleton, two retractable claws in her hands, and one longer claw that extends from each foot. She also heals as fast as Logan once did. Agents from Pierce’s organization descend on the hideout where Logan has been keeping Charles. Logan and Laura, who hid in his car, proceed to tear into these men. Logan, Laura, and Charles escape and set out to get her to Eden, a safe place for mutant children like Laura, in North Dakota.
The quality of this action scene, along with every other action scene in Logan, is very high. They are drawn-out, yet the intensity never wavers. The audience’s hearts continue to pound, as everyone sits on the edge of their seats as the characters literally fight for their lives on screen. The movie’s R-rating allows for the level of violence that a character like Wolverine deserves. In this way, the movie is very similar to Deadpool. While certainly lacking the humor and fourth-wall breaks of the Ryan Reynolds flick, there is no need to pull punches with violence and language.
Logan, however, is not all gore and swearing. There are a multitude of scenes throughout the movie that hit with a large amount of emotional impact, usually not seen in superhero or action films. The relationship between Charles and Logan is nothing like in previous X-Men movies. They both know that they are approaching the end, and that their lives aren’t going to get better. They bicker like an old married couple, and while their banter does bring humor to this somber movie, it doesn’t feel forced. Keen does a phenomenal job as Laura, displaying very good acting chops for such a young girl. She doesn’t speak for the first hour of Logan, yet the audience is never left wondering how she is feeling. Her facial expressions and body positions are on par with a seasoned actor. When she finally talks, she speaks in rapid Spanish, and also decent English. Her talent leaves the audience hoping for more.
At this point, it’s almost impossible to tell where in time and space Logan fits in with the other 20th Century Fox X-Men movies in light of all of the reboots, time travel, and non-canon films. But it really doesn’t matter. This movie is great on its own right. Logan might be the best superhero movie of the decade because it tells a story that matters outside of superpowers. The events are relatively small-scale, there isn’t an enormous cast, and the movie doesn’t care about setting up for a sequel or a franchise. It tells the story it sets out to tell, and it does so extremely well. At this point, it seems that superhero movies are definitely a mixed bag, but regardless of potential fatigue for the genre, give Logan a chance.
Featured Image By 20th Century Fox