Movie Review: Logan
If you couldn’t tell from the title, I was not a fan of Logan. This film could have been a great story about discovering X-23 and the "Weapon X" program run by Essex Corp. Instead, what we get is basically just a bloodbath, an excuse for Hugh Jackman to still feel young and important at the end of his career playing everyone’s favorite cranky Mutant.
The film opens on Logan as an older man, having trouble using his claws due to what we can only assume is age. He can retract and extend them but only to a certain point and one “blade” won’t extend all the way. In addition, his healing powers are also slowed and less effective, indicated by him pulling one of the “blades” out and it cutting his hand open while contemplating suicide.
Logan, working as a limo driver, reluctantly accepts a job to take a young girl, Laura, and her "mother" to a mutant refuge called “Eden”, which appears to be a rendezvous point in North Dakota. From there they will cross into Canada where the girl can be safe from genetic experimentation. When Logan goes to fetch them, however, he finds the “mother” dead, with a videotape explaining that there is no more money and that she was a nurse at the facility where the little girl was created. Side note: why does it seem like the United States and Mexico are the only countries in this film that have not banned genetic experiments?
Now mind you, this film is set in the future and I don’t recall if they gave us an exact year, but Logan is an older man now, and Professor Xavier is losing his mind due to a mental illness -- literally. Logan makes frequent trips to Mexico to bring Xavier medication that keeps him sedated because due to his illness he is no longer fully in control of his mental faculties, which includes his telekinetic powers. This plays a huge role in getting our band of heroes and misfits into trouble. If Xavier doesn’t take his meds, he has seizures that essentially paralyze everyone, save for our Logan and Laura, likely due to their bones made of Adamantium, a fictional metal alloy. Even then, they are hit by a strong wave of pain until Xavier either calms down or is knocked unconscious. Like any mutant power, it of course works both ways. It's both a blessing and a curse. I guess being one of the world's most powerful mutants and having Alzheimer’s works out in the long run. Sort of.
Throughout the movie Logan ends up protecting the girl and showing her the ropes of how to use her powers in addition to trying to instill a sense of wrong vs right in her. She was a “test tube baby," planted inside of an unsuspecting woman’s womb in Mexico and raised in a facility for artificial mutants. She has all of the same powers as Logan, but we learn that her Adamantium claws are also in her feet. According to Xavier, this is a trait exclusive to female mutants with Adamantium skeletons. This never really gets explained, so that’s another strike against the film.
At this point in the film, the team stops to rest for the night because Essex Corp. has been chasing them. Essex finds them at a small farm in the country at the home of some innocent civilians. Essex sends in X-24, another Adamantium bonded knock-off clone who looks like Logan to retrieve the girl and kill everyone else. Before he enters the building, we see the clone take a serum that boosts his regenerative powers. He kills the entire family, despite their best efforts at fighting back, and even kills Xavier! Due to Xavier's mental issues, he mistakes X-24 for Logan and by the time he realizes what’s going on, it’s too late.
This is probably the best plot twist in the entire film, as it goes against every stereotype I expect as a critic. The hero never dies, but in today's films that's not the norm. Even in TV shows, you can safely assume that, unless our hero has magic or some other fantasy gimmick, that they’re not going to die, because, once they’re dead, they tend to stay dead. So, when they killed Xavier, and by the way they killed Xavier no tricks, I was in shock!
Ultimately Logan and the band of mutants makes it to North Dakota, but we'll stop here because we don’t want to give away all the spoilers. I have to give the writers credit for the finale, “Well done Fox!” I did not see this ending coming!
Overall the film's plot felt weak and not very fleshed out. Things like Xavier’s mental illness, Logan’s sudden employment as a limo driver, and “Eden” all contributed to the feeling that the film was designed to let Jackman go out with a bang, rather than actually provide any real closure to the Logan/Wolverine story arc.
Despite the film's utterly predictable nature, it still manages to throw a few curve balls at the audience -- most notably, the death of our main hero. Regardless, when all is said and done, the amount of senseless violence and missed potential makes Logan fall flat. Just leave the R-rated stuff to Deadpool, okay Fox?