Logan is a testament to the power of franchises
SHEDS BLOOD, SPILLS TEARS
X-Men movies tend to be hit or miss. For every well-received X-Men film, there are two or three that don’t measure up. For Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the iconic Wolverine, fans have reason to be wary, especially since his previous solo movies, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine are already infamous. But even the trailers for Logan boast a different kind of film; it’s not an action-packed superheroic romp with Wolverine as the gruff and tortured warrior-hero. This older, past-his-prime Logan (Jackman) has a lot to do before he’ll even consider himself a hero.
Logan takes place in the near future where things haven’t turned out so well for mutants. No new mutants have been born in 25 years, and the only survivors seem to be Logan, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), and Caliban (Stephen Merchant), who are all hiding in Mexico. Logan’s advanced age has crippled his ability to heal, and Charles spends his time in a drug-induced dementia due to the fact that his seizures have an enormous telepathic backlash on anyone else in the area. Logan works as a chauffeur to pay the bills, but outside of work he spends most of his time in a drunken haze.
When Logan accepts a job from a persistent nurse to transport a girl across the Canadian border, he finds himself wrapped up in a conflict he has no interest in being part of. The girl in question is named Laura (Dafne Keen), and it’s soon revealed that she has metallic claws and a healing factor just like Logan. As Logan, Charles, and Laura travel across the country, they are pursued by the Reavers, a malicious group of mutant hunters who want Laura for their own ends.
Even setting the scene is very telling about the kind of film Logan is. It’s violent, it’s gritty, but it’s also touchingly human. It’s certainly not a typical superhero film, either, even more so than last year’s Deadpool. While Logan draws on the X-Men franchise, it feels distant from all the other films, both in tone and content. It tells a far more personal story, without the world-ending consequences audiences are used to seeing in this genre. In fact, it’s difficult to call it a superhero film, as it feels more like a survivalist western with superpowered characters. Although it could be argued that from the perspective of a roadtrip thriller film, the movie doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, it’s still nice to see a superhero film, especially one from a franchise as big as the X-Men, take more risks.
Logan isn’t just a good superhero movie, it’s a good movie by any measure. Although Logan is a weary, aging man, he still pops his claws and fights in a satisfyingly bloody way. Despite Laura’s youth, she still manages to steal the scene from her older counterpart a number of times. When the film isn’t spilling blood, it manages to be heartfelt as well. Logan isn’t to be missed; certainly a fitting send-off for one of the most memorable roles in recent Hollywood history.