Review - Logan

Logan (2017), R, 137 minutes - It's hard to believe, but it has been seventeen years since 2000's X-Men introduced Hugh Jackman to the masses as the live action interpretation of one of the most popular comic book characters out there: Wolverine.  Over that time, he has really cemented himself as the physical embodiment of the character and Logan marks his ninth and final turn as the iconic mutant on the big screen.  It is a wonderful, heartfelt send off, even if there are a couple shortcomings.

Jackman's final foray into the mutant world is loosely based on Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's 'Old Man Logan' story from the comics.  While the overall story differs significantly from the source material, key elements that do carry over to the film, including that it takes place in the future (2029 in this case), Logan has aged and doesn't heal the way he used to, and the mutant population in the world has been significantly reduced.

Logan is living under the radar, just across the border in Mexico while working as a chauffeur in Texas in order to make ends meet for himself, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), and a deteriorating Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).  Charles is suffering from an undisclosed neuro-degenerative disease which causes seizures, that due to his telepathic abilities, cause extreme pain for anyone in his proximity. He repeatedly tells Logan that he has had contact with a new mutant, but Logan dismisses it as the crazy rumblings of an old man.  As it would turn out, a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) enters their lives, whose mutant abilities are uncannily similar to Logan's.  Charles insists that they help the girl, but Logan is hesitant until a Transigen security detail led by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) shows up looking for Laura, prepared to take her by force.  Logan, Laura, and Charles escape Pierce's detail, and begin a journey for Eden, a supposed mutant safe haven in North Dakota.  Along their road trip, we learn more about Laura, her origins, and her connection to Logan.

Director James Mangold (returning after helming 2013's The Wolverine), wastes little time in showing why this film received its R rating.  There may be more adamantium claw induced bloodshed in the first scene than in all of the prior X-Men films combined (not to mention an f-bomb or two).  The opening scene sets a precedent for things to come, as the action sequences throughout the film are well choreographed and appropriate Wolverine-esque levels of violent, especially once Laura is thrown in the mix.

Jackman and Stewart turn in really wonderful performances as Logan and Xavier well beyond their prime respectively in is film.  Logan is trying to disappear and put his past behind him, but is constantly reminded by Charles that since joining the Xavier Institute way back when, he has always looked out for others.  As great as their continued chemistry is, Dafne Keen's turn as Laura cannot be overshadowed.  She's the breakout star of the film, proving to be quite versatile, even while playing a non-speaking role for over half of the film.

I have a couple nit-picky issues that I'll touch on in the spoiler section below, but all in all, I really, really enjoyed Logan.  It is easily the best solo-Wolverine film of the three, and is definitely the most emotionally charged comic book movie that I can think of.  While I would say that it is not necessary to have seen all of the previous X-Men or Wolverine films, I do feel that if you have seen them (or some of them), that the Logan/Charles relationship is that much more powerful.  Logan is not what has come to be known as your typical comic book film.  There are no costumes, there's a ton of violence, there's a good bit of language, and the overall tone of the film is very somber.  This is not a film for the kiddies.  It is a very well made film that gives an alternative look at characters that have become synonymous with the actors portraying them.  In the years since he first popped his claws, Hugh Jackman has become an excellent, highly regarded actor, but he will always be inextricably linked to Wolverine and this was a great end to his run with the character.  Thank you Mr. Jackman, for bringing to life such an iconic character, and making us really care about his journey.  The cinematic X-universe won't be the same without you.    
















*****SPOILERS*****

- Ok, I'm going to get my couple nit-picky things out of the way, because, in the grand scheme of things, they are relatively minor: First, how did the other mutant children make it to the rendezvous point in North Dakota?  We know that they were all aided in their escape from Transigen, but there were no other adults with them when Laura and Logan arrive.  They also all appeared to have arrived unscathed.  So was Laura the only one being hunted?  It doesn't make sense.  Second, it bothers me that we never learn if Eden was a real place or, as Logan thought, just a fairy tale from a comic book.  I understand why they ended the film the way they did, it is primarily Logan's story after all, but after barely surviving Transigen's forces, what happens to all of the mutant kids hiking through the forest?  Maybe after Logan's emotional death, I'm not supposed to think about that but I did.  Lastly, Charles confesses that he 'did something terrible' and was he cause of the mutant race being virtually whipped out.  But what did he do?

- The 'Old Man Logan' story originally appeared in Wolverine (2003) #66-72, and Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant Size (2009) #1.

- The young mutant who appears to be in charge at the North Dakota rendezvous is named Rictor.  In the comics, Rictor is a mutant who has seismic powers (as seen in the final moments of this film), and has been a part of a number of X-groups, primarily X-Factor.

- Caliban and Donald Pierce were also derived from the comics.  Caliban is most notably one of the sewer dwelling Morlocks, and Pierce is a known enemy of the X-Men, often aligned with the anti-mutant group the Reavers (also the name of Pierce's task force in this film).

- In the Old Man Logan story line in the comics, Logan makes a cross country trip with Hawkeye (in an effort to rescue Hawkeye's daughter) across a landscape that has been split up by and ruled over by super villains after defeating the world's super heroes in a future where Logan has become a pacifist because he was responsible for the mutant population being wiped out. 

- Using Laura's X-Men comic books as a source for her belief in Eden and its coordinates was very meta.  I loved that Logan said that the stories were mis-representations of events that had actually occurred.

- The dinner table scene where Logan and Charles refer to each other as father and son and talk about their trip by speaking half truths is really touching and really summarizes their relationship well.

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