Logan is the antithesis of the superhero movie genre. There are no flashy costumes, no booming soundtracks, no gigantic explosions, and no catchy one-liners. Instead, is a movie truly about the pain of time and the journey that our differences have taken us on.
We follow an aged Logan and a senile Professor Xavier as they are eventually put in charge of a young girl named Laura. But times have changed, these are no longer the staples of the X-Men we once knew. The once invincible Wolverine is now a broken limo driver who needs glasses to read small print and can’t go one step without a limp. The once benevolent and educated Professor X is now Charles, a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and horrifying telepathic seizures that put those that he once loved and protected at risk. We never get to see what truly caused the extinction of the mutants but, its effects on the world are seen through the race’s surviving members.
While villains are presented in evil corporations and the venomous robotic handed Pierce, their true service is merely to keep Logan and the group moving as they experience life with Laura. Fans should be assured that the R rating for Logan is well deserved and used brilliantly throughout. To see Logan’s claws actually tear apart his foes while each character on screen drops f-bombs one after another doesn’t take away from the movie but, actually makes it more realistic.
Logan is not the normal superhero movie. The heroes of the story don’t always find a way to save everyone and it can be argued that they don’t really even win, and its brilliant. We see the struggle on their minds and bodies. We see the pain that they feel and that their lives have caused them. We see that these heroes aren’t looking to save the world but rather, escape it. Like a prisoner who has done his time they want their freedom.
Every moment of anger, sadness, pain, and happiness feels just so utterly raw in Logan. To see a world that is so two-faced in its presentation it almost becomes a drawback to the story but lends itself to form a strength. To picture a society that simply just moves on as if the mutant race never existed is a mirror into our own real world of the fleeting 24hr cycle of care. The mutants are outsiders like never before in Logan but, instead of being the next step in human evolution they are now simply an endangered species on its last legs.
The plot is somewhat predictable but the chemistry and performance by Hugh Jackman (Logan), Patrick Stewart (Charles), and Dafne Keen (Laura) all make it a story much more about the connection of humans rather than a battle between prey and predator. Logan and Charles feel some sort of obligation to help Laura in her quest for freedom even well knowing that it is based off of a false hope they no longer believe in. The ends of certain characters do feel a bit underwhelming and feel as if they deserved better but, the effects the deaths have on those still left alive hit home extremely hard.
Logan struggles with the many versions of himself throughout the film, showing us just how long of a journey it has been. Whether it is Laura, the raw X-23, and her unhinged primal instinct to survive and kill that he once had. Or the man that he faces in the mirror and through Charles, the man whose hands don't ever stop shaking, the man who never sleeps, the man whose sins are numerous, and the man who never gets to forget, each aspect of Logan’s past, present, and future are brilliantly executed.
Perhaps the best thing Logan does is completely ignore the FOX X-Men timeline. Aside from a few references and easter eggs to a few of the movies, Logan carves its own path. Not burdened by the convoluted past that we have seen but rather, haunted by events we never see but fully understand, Logan is a story all of its own.
There is no comparing Logan to another superhero movie and that's because it just doesn't fit in the genre. A film that is much more like No Country for Old Men then any other X-Men film before it, Logan is masterful. From the yearning to see Logan go berserk, to the realization that his body physically can't handle his sins anymore, Logan's journey is honest. Honest to the pain of the real world, and honest to the light that gets us through the day.