Released on March 3, James Mangold’s “Logan” brings the arc of Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine to an astonishing close. Never before has a superhero movie elicited such a visceral and emotional reaction from moviegoers everywhere. It’s gritty, it’s grounded and it’s sad.
Set in 2029, “Logan” starts off with a brutal introduction as to where our hero is at now. Over 200 years old, Logan is tired. He’s no longer a fighter and is waiting for the poison from his adamantium implants to finally kill him. Working as a limo driver, Logan goes day to day taking care of a sickly Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who suffers from seizures that threaten everyone around him.
Logan encounters a Latina woman and a young mute girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), shortly into the film. From this point on, he’s tasked with escorting Laura to North Dakota so she can cross the border into Canada and find Eden, a sanctuary for mutants like her and her genetically bred siblings.
With Laura and Xavier in tow, Logan travels cross-country while being pursued by Pierce, a partially bionic agent working for Transigen, the nefarious medical research and development company responsible for creating Laura and many other mutant children using DNA from other heroes, Logan included.
We learn more of Laura’s origin throughout the film, such as how Wolverine’s DNA was used in her creation and how she and the other children were bred to be ultimate weapons. Transigen descended from the original Weapon X program, spearheaded by Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant), the son of the original director of the Weapon X program where Logan was created.
“Logan” stays true to its comic book roots and throws in many subtle references to past movies and the comics both. The comics actually hold an important part in the film, with them being the bedtime stories of the mutant children, and the basis for their hope of an oasis away from Transigen. It’s surprisingly meta.
Each encounter in the film grows increasingly brutal, and the audience starts to worry how Logan is going to make it out alive with his party still intact. Things get harrowing fast, and the movie becomes an emotional rollercoaster well before the halfway point. People die, and they die tragically. Each death, save for those of Pierce’s nameless henchmen, hits harder and harder and wears on the audience just as much as it does Logan.
By the time the movie comes to a close, everyone is ready for it to end, but at the same time not ready at all. Once the fighting is over and our protagonists finally get their well-deserved respite, the film’s most poignant lines are delivered. Logan’s “So this is what it feels like” and Laura’s “No more guns in the valley” are heavy blows to the heart, but they close the film perfectly.
James Mangold’s Westerninspired superhero film is much more than that, marking the end of an incredible arc for an incredible character, and giving hope to the next generation of mutants. “Logan” inarguably gets a 10/10.