Release: March 3, 2017
Director: James Mangold
Writers: Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
Starring: Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine, Jack Hughman as Disposable Clone/not Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, Stephen Merchant as Caliban, Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney/X-23
Spoiler Alert: You know the drill by now, it’s a movie review.
The year is 2029, and mutants are all but a thing of the past. No new ones have been born in a quarter of a century, and the exploits of Logan and his compatriots have been relegated to the pages of comic books. Logan manages to eke out a living for himself, Charles (who, at 90, is being mentally eroded by dementia), and Caliban, the most useless mutant of them all who assists Logan in caring for the ailing psychic. The life of a limo driver of course is not an easy one. It is a life fraught with danger. All you’re trying to do is procure enough money to buy a boat to take your mentally fading father figure and mutant Nosferatu away from a ham fisted Trump metaphor, but Mexican gang members try to chop your limo, redneck Trump tries to kill you and kidnap your friends, and some crazy Latina nurse leaves an eleven-year-old female clone of you in the trunk of your limo. What is a humble decagenarian chauffeur to do? The obvious answer, of course, is to pile into an SUV with your nonagenarian telepath father figure, and an eleven-year-old mutant savage and go on a road trip to North Dakota, leaving a wake of dismemberment and death behind you.
Yes, this is essentially the plot of Logan. It is not exactly a model of narrative complexity. There are some gaping plot holes in the flick. For instance, why didn’t Wolverine, who can withstand the psychic freezing brought on by Charles’ seizures, use one of those freezes to kill Pierce? Yes, X-24 was somewhat of a lazy villain. That being said, this film is not really about the plot. It is more about the interaction between the three principle characters of Logan, Charles, and Laura. In that regard, the film succeeds. Jackman and Stewart’s performances are the best I have ever seen from either man as these characters. Keen’s performance as X-23 was quite good as well, especially considering that seven eights of it was largely silent. The gore was also a welcome addition. Wolverine is a violent character, and freed from the shackles of the PG-13 rating, the film makers were able to show some of that. Performance wise, action wise, this was probably the best X-Men flick I have ever seen. However, and this is a big however, I do not think that it is the cinematic superhero messiah that many fans have made it out to be. As I said before, X-24 wasn’t exactly a compelling villain, and the robo-handed redneck was entirely forgettable. The main characters were great, but the overall framing narrative into which they were inserted just didn’t do it for me. Also, they stopped the mutant X gene by putting something in the water? Come on, Marvel, that is the laziest thing you have come up with since that “One More Day” fiasco. Despite X-24’s being a rather ho-hum villain, I did enjoy the climactic battle between he and Wolverine. It was the type of death that Logan deserved, on his feet as a warrior, not that suffocating on his knees tripe that he was given in the infamous “Death of Wolverine” (a.k.a. “We Regret Selling our Movie Rights: the Comic”).
So, should you see Logan? If you like your superhero fare a little more on the dark side, and if you can take a movie that is more character driven than plot driven, then sure. I certainly enjoyed it. You also get the bonus of Raven and Erik being absent from this movie, so there is no rehashing of the Charles, Erik, Raven drama for the quintillionth time. Doesn’t that last point alone make it worth watching?