Logan picks up with the last vestiges of the X-Men in the year 2029, which, at this point in time only comprises of Logan (Hugh Jackman), a sickly and ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) who's been losing control of his powers, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Logan's healing factor has almost ground to a halt and he's taken to anesthetizing himself with booze. Though they've long since given up on their name and their cause, but they soon find a cause worth fighting for once again in the shape of X-23, aka Laura (Dafne Keen). X-23 was smuggled out of "Transigen" by her nurse, and is being pursued by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and the Reavers, a group of mechanically enhanced soldiers.
I had heard beforehand that Logan had quite a lot of political subtext to it, which didn't really bother me, but there's a very fine line between telling a story, and preaching to the audience. And that's a line I felt Logan crossed at the cost of the story. I know how people like to champion the X-Men as being representative of minorities, whatever minority they may be, but originally it was just an easy way to create characters, nothing more. It was easier to say that Iceman was simply born that way instead of having to come up with an origin story explaining how he got his powers. Marvel could create hundreds of super powered characters without ever having to explain their abilities. Minorities soon latched onto the notion of the alienation and isolation that the mutants felt because they were different, and Marvel quickly ran with it. Why am I bringing this up in my review for Logan? Because Logan ditched developing characters for heavy handed politics and a motivated commentary, which is probably why I found most of the drama and emotions empty and contrived for the most part.
X-23 has no real backstory, which is a shame, and her mother wasn't even mentioned, which is another shame. X-23 isn't Canadian and likely Asian to some extent anymore, to being Mexican. You know that X-23 is Logan's biological daughter, so she has to be Canadian to some degree, but that degree is absolutely minimal in the movie. Logan's healing factor is on the fritz, again. I got tired of watching Logan limp his way through the movie as if he were half dead. Just once, I'd like to get an R rated Logan movie where he's in his prime and the spotlight is solely on him. The Reavers are no longer enemies of the Wolverine, in fact, they quite like him, but are nonetheless reduced down to being faceless thugs. The entire plot that drives the movie forward is Logan trying to get X-23 across the border while evading exclusively white, gun totting hillbillies and overzealous border patrol agents. While every decent person that was struggling, were peoples of color. Suffice to say that the political subtext is far from subtle, which I suppose isn't all that surprising given that James Mangold wanted to make something 'culturally now'. I don't mind a political subtext in movies, just to be clear about that, but I like the ones that ask questions and provoke thought, this screenplay felt more like it was force feeding me an overly sensationalized and simplistic narrative. No solid explanation is given for the near extinction of mutants either, and I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities to use certain characters as well.
The action was surprisingly uneven too. A lot of it was a fast, blurry mess, and it took place at night most of the time. However, there were instances here and there of some brilliantly brutal and savage Logan and Laura action. I've been waiting twenty goddamned years to see Wolverine to tear it up like he did in Logan, and it was awesome. The violence wasn't gratuitous, it was an accurate depiction of the sort of carnage that misanthropes wielding six blades of the sharpest metal on Earth would leave in their wake. These are the kinds of stories that the PG rating simply doesn't allow. Despite the rather ham-fisted screenplay and perplexing timeline, I did like Logan, not as much as I thought I was going to though. I have to wonder where this leaves the future of all the "X" franchises too. The X-Men are at one place, Deadpool is at another, and now Wolverine is in, yet another place, and who even knows where the Fantastic Four are in this mess. I've said this many times, but First Class should have been a clean reboot of the entire "X" universe, but now it all seems so splintered and confusing. I think Logan is best viewed as a standalone movie, despite the numerous references to the past. Still, a very cool movie that could have used a bit more tact and nuance in its delivery.
Written by - The Sentry - 03/03/2017