This is the film that will redefine the superhero genre. Fearlessly going where no superhero story has gone before, the movie’s dark and oppressive atmosphere is masterfully constructed, and the plot perfectly paced. The characters elicit a range of visceral emotions in viewers, ultimately leaving behind an unexpected, melancholy triumph that provides closure, yet leaves the audience wanting more.
The movie is set in the year 2029. No mutants have been born in 25 years, and those still alive are slowly running out of time. Logan (Hugh Jackman), aka Wolverine, is being poisoned by the metal implants that make up his skeleton and claws. He lives in an abandoned smelting plant with former X-Men leader Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who now suffers from telekinetic seizures, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant), seemingly the only other living mutant. While working as a chauffeur, Logan is approached by a former nurse for the biotech company Alkali-Transigen who wants him to escort her and a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a location in North Dakota called “Eden” where other child mutants live. After the nurse is murdered and Caliban captured by Transigen operatives known as the Reavers, Logan reluctantly embarks on the journey to Eden with Laura and Xavier. The rest of the film details their struggle to find Eden and conflict with the Reavers.
Logan is remarkable, never shying away from portraying the gut wrenching turmoil of the titular character, expertly depicting both his raw, furious violence and seemingly interminable ambivalence. He is a broken shell of his former self, opening the door to a wonderful exploration of his vulnerability. Logan takes time to bury Xavier after his death, despite the risk posed by the pursuing Reavers, and is utterly at a loss for words over the old man’s grave, a huge departure from his normally unassailable air. Logan’s ultimate sacrifice for Laura and the other mutants from Eden doesn’t feel rushed or out of character. On the contrary, it makes complete sense and is easily the best part of the film. Logan’s final words are heartbreaking, and Laura’s final action of turning the cross at his grave sideways to form an “x” (an homage to his time in the X-Men) is a fitting end to one of the most iconic superheroes in cinema.
Laura isn’t mouthy or immature like so many young TV or movie characters. In fact, the majority of her dialogue is in Spanish, and Dafne Keen displays an incredible emotional range, truly allowing her character to flourish. Laura also maintains a suitable distance from Logan for most of the film, only truly embracing him and her own vulnerability just before his death. Xavier is truly a grandfather to Laura, constantly reassuring her and teaching her the ways of the world. Indeed, the movie does at times depict Logan, Xavier, and Laura as a family (there’s even a scene where the trio eat dinner together!), making the deaths of Xavier and Logan even more gripping and compelling.
Where many superhero films fall short, Logan stands tall. Whether you’re a die-hard X-Men fan or simply seeking to escape a rainy day, Logan will both fulfill and hollow you. This movie has run its claws through the world of cinema, and will permanently leave its mark on any brave enough to see it.