Movie Review: Logan

(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)

Although I’ve long been a fan of the X-men franchise, having watched both the I never really understood why Wolverine was a fan-favorite character – sure, he was ruggedly handsome and charming, but I found it easy to write him off as the typical angst-ridden bad boy. It was only after watching Logan that I finally understood the appeal behind Wolverine, falling head over heels for the character and his narrative.

When we first see Logan again in the beginning of the film, it is clear that things are very different to where we left off at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past; Logan is visibly beat down and grizzled, working as a driver while people on the radio comment on mutants being a dying breed. When he is attacked by a couple of drunkards at a gas station, beaten and kicked, he is slow to response leaving the audience on the edge of their seats with suspense.  But even when he does move to fight them, his reflexes are noticeable slower, with his claws causing him pain. This is a Logan we haven’t seen before and he is absolutely fascinating. His drive to protect Charles is both heartbreaking and completely relatable. Much of the film is shrouded in mystery, as the audience is given no answers as to why there haven’t been any mutants in over 25 years, or what exactly happened during the Westchester incident that led authorities to label Charles as a terrorist, and this sense of mystery works well for this film, allowing the audience to focus more on the characters. The Logan we see in this film no longer wants to fight, but he has to, and so he does until the very end, saving the life of the only family he has left.

I found Laura to be an extremely engrossing character, with her wildness and ferocity a clear parallel to a younger Logan. One of the many children being experimented on for mutations in a laboratory in Mexico, she is broken out by a nurse who is desperate for Logan to take them to sanctuary before they are discovered. When he and Charles are forced to go on the run from scientists, Laura goes with them as Logan slowly comes to term with the fact that he is her biological father. Laura’s introduction in the film is extremely violent and animalistic – she attacks several agents who are out to kill her, before walking out calmly with a severed head in her hands, leaving the audience both terrified and mesmerized. No one expects such extreme power from a young girl. At the same time, she is clearly showed to be kind and caring as well, as she searches desperately for her friends and saves Logan from death after Charles’ funeral – this is a girl who has never known much of happiness in her life, and this makes the few good moments she experiences in this movie with Charles and Logan all the more heartbreaking.

This movie is both Logan and Charles’ last film, and serves as a wonderful if gut-wrenching farewell to both of them, with Charles given one last night of peace with Logan and Laura as well as the Munson family, who offer them a night of shelter, even as he feels he does not deserve it. When Logan whispers to Charles that it wasn’t him who stabbed Charles, but X-23, because he needed Charles to know that, I was sobbing my heart out in the cinema. However, I did feel like the violent slaughter of the entire Munson family by X-24, with Logan discovering their bloody corpses by Charles’ door, was unnecessarily bleak for the movie.

I wasn’t faring any better at Logan’s last scene either, as he defends Laura and the children from X-24, before holding Laura’s hand as she calls him “daddy”, saying that he now knows the true feeling of family before succumbing to his injuries. His death scene was extremely well-executed, with Logan sustaining several life-threatening blows as X-24 sliced into him repeatedly with his claws and heaving a car on his bloody body before Laura stabs him with the adamantium bullet, although not fast enough to save Logan’s life.

The growing development of the relationship between Laura and Logan as he copes with the idea of being a father and having to care about someone beyond himself and Charles, is one of the highlights of the movie, setting up a hero’s death for the Wolverine, one of the best of the X-Men. The audience is reminded of this with the film’s final shot of Laura turning the cross on his grave to an X – the X-men may be gone, but they will not be forgotten.