Movie Review: ‘Logan’
The solo Wolverine movies have been a let-down for a lot of fans of the swarthy, clawed, quick-healing hero. Though they’ve arguably gotten better along the way, hopes have been riding high that Logan, Hugh Jackman’s last portrayal of the iconic character, will be better than the rest. All signs have been pointing to this being the one. Director James Mangold revealed early on that Jackman had taken a salary cut in order to ensure the movie could be rated R; Jackman has said that he loved the script from the moment he read it, and this felt like a solid film with which to leave the character behind him; and the trailers and promo materials have all been gritty and cool.
Fortunately for all of us, Logan does not disappoint.
Set a decade or so from present day, an aging, sickly Logan is moonlighting as a limo driver in order to take care of a similarly deteriorating Professor X (Patrick Stewart). He’s squirreled the professor away in a hideout south of the border after an incident on the East Coast forced them to withdraw from the world. Helping him care for the ailing professor is Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a lanky albino mutant that can sniff out other mutants – a “glorified truffle pig” as Caliban describes himself.
Though the trio have been scraping by, Logan’s little, dusty world is suddenly overturned and shaken out by a woman and her daughter. The woman says she needs to get the quiet little Laura (Dafne Keen) to a location and offers Logan a chunk of money in exchange for safe transport. She reveals that they are in fear for their lives and need to leave as soon as possible. Though Logan wants no part of it, it would allow him to buy a boat and sail off into the sunset with the professor – something he’s been working toward – so he considers it.
Not long after accepting the job, the men chasing after Laura catch up with the girls. Professor X understands she needs protection and urges Logan to take action. After it is revealed that she is a mutant with suspiciously familiar abilities and there is a showdown with the bad guys, the “Reavers,” Logan, ever the begrudging hero, has to help her get to safety whether he likes it or not.
The film is filled with many fun nods to the Wolverine character: Logan grabbing a cigar from the counter of the convenience store; giving his name as “James” to the family that takes them in. The whole thing is tongue-in-cheek, with Deadpool-esque nods to the X-Men comics.
Though the action and storyline is fun, it’s the characters that make this film so worthwhile. The grandfather-father-daughter generational dynamic is something so relatable for many of us, and something that transcends super powers. The three characters in a Mexican-standoff, so to speak, for much of the time is what makes this easily the best Wolverine movie and arguably the best X-Men movie to date.
Something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about taking the children to the theater for a fun superhero movie — Logan has strong language and graphic violence. This isn’t Ant-Man. It is a bloody shoot out at the OK Corral and frankly, it’s something that the film needed. Wolverine’s tagline is often cited as “I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice”, and we couldn’t have the best Wolverine film until they stopped being so damn nice.
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