Logan | James Mangold | 2017 | USA | 137 min | Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
Logan may seem like an oddly minimalist, unusual title for what is (supposedly) Hugh Jackman's final hurrah playing what has become the most iconic of onscreen X-Men, Wolverine, but when you actually see this, hopefully you'll understand why they simply titled it after the character's real name, and have no more qualms with it than I did. After all, this is a very unusual, minimalist X-Men film itself, drawing a mythic strength not only from Jackman's long-running portrayal of the character onscreen, but also from the more than 40-year legacy of Wolverine in the comics (in one particularly clever, self-aware twist), while also simultaneously humanizing him more than we've ever seen him before, stripping the Wolverine down to his bare, adamantium-bonded bones.
When we first see Logan in Logan, he's barely scraping together a living as an on-call limousine driver in Texas (driving a leased-out limo, to boot), fueled more by constant alcohol than rage, and noticeably older, his legendary regenerative healing working much slower than ever before, as he's barely able to fend off a group of thugs trying to steal his hubcaps. He chauffeurs around rich assholes, boorish fratboys, and drunken bachelorettes to and fro for a living, barely able to afford the black market meds he desperately needs to smuggle into Mexico, where he hopes to keep an increasingly senile and demented Charles Xavier from destroying mankind in a devastatingly final psychic wave, as he saves every penny he earns in the vain hope of purchasing a yacht someday so he and "Professor X" may live out the rest of their days in some ridiculous, idyllic existence on the sea.
So yeah, he is definitely not the beclawed badass we saw stylishly carve off a piece of the Statue Of Liberty's crown all those years ago; he is a broken "Wolverine" here, struggling to survive in a near future where mutants have mysteriously become nearly extinct. However, all of that changes when he runs across a young girl with powers strikingly similar to his own, a girl Logan is (extremely reluctantly) drawn into protecting from a ominous multinational corporation and its army of assassins, as the film takes us on a truly epic journey all the way from the unforgiving deserts of Mexico to the snowy mountains of Canada, giving Logan something real to live for for the first time in a very, very long time.
But, despite this epic scope and its over 2-hour runtime, Logan derives most of its strength from how down-to-Earth and just plain human it really is, despite being about mutants. Although it takes place over a decade into the future, there are no absurd, obscenely high-tech facilities or fancy pants "schools for the gifted" in sight here, rather, the settings of its multinational journey are gas stations, quaint farm houses, and the tiny, one horse towns of Middle America; in other words, this is X-Men in the real world, for real. But, more importantly than that, Logan always has a devastatingly intimate and personal focus on its characters, showing a sense of genuine pathos and emotional maturity that, is not only rare to see in a superhero film, but is just rare to see in film, period. The characters of Logan aren't the kind of living action figures you might have seen elsewhere, but are real, live, actual people, with very real pains and emotions, and, as they suffer and hope onscreen, so too did I, suffering and hoping right alongside them. This is probably the best X-Men movie to date, possibly ever, even, and for a eulogy for everyone's favorite Canadian rodent, I don't think you could've expected a better one than you get in Logan. Go see it, right fucking now.