By Laurie Coker
We are used to origin stories when it comes to our superheroes. Whether we look at Avengers, Batman, Superman or X-Men, there is a sense of character connection when we know from whence they came. While Logan, starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, might feel like a finale, director and co-writer James Mangold offers up a tale of hope in the midst of loss. Super heavy on the gratuitous violence and long in runtime, Logan is both an ending and a new beginning.
In Logan, the dark hero Wolverine (Jackman) works as an emotionally self-abusing, alcoholic limo driver. During the day, he and fellow outcast Caliban live holed up in an abandoned warehouse, caring for an ailing Charles Xavier (Stewart), whose singular mind is plagued by worsening seizures. Within minutes of the film’s two and a quarter hours, Logan finds himself in charge of Laura (Dafne Keen), a young girl with impressive, wolverine-like powers. From Charles, Logan learns that Laura, in every sense of the word (except actual physical conception), is his daughter, a role that Logan does not want or need. Still, the trio, after Caliban (a mutant seeker) is kidnapped and made to hunt them down for the men who “created” Laura and several other “special” children, runs for its life to locate a place call Eden. Here the other children and Laura are meant to meet and carry-on the mutant hero legacy.
As bodies add up, Logan’s body weakens and Laura’s determination and love for him grows as do his feelings for her. Jackman not only portrays the emotionally battered Logan but also 24, a better, stronger and younger version of himself/Wolverine. Both are brutally violent and belligerent, but Logan’s body deteriorates visibly, because of a piece metal poisoning him like cancer. His self-healing powers dwindle daily and booze and depression don’t help. Keen, born Dafne Keen Fernández, is perfect – fluent in Spanish (Mexico the country of her character’s origin), brooding and impressively talented. At eleven, she has the talent and control of a seasoned star, even if her Of course, Stewart is true to form and the chemistry in this odd band is palpable. Their main nemesis is a man name Pierce, played with sinister zeal by Boyd Holbrook. There are other villains, but none as bent on grabbing Laura and ending the X-Men legacy as is Pierce.
Jackman pushed to garner an R-rating for Logan and Mangold abides. From the first scene, blood flows freely – spurting, splattering, and splashing. Death shadows our heroes and bites at their heels. Logan doubts the reality of the place called Eden, believing the girl and her guardian believe in it because of a description from pages of a Wolverine comic book. Logan is an action-thriller, a buddy film, new hope for the future of the X-Men and the conclusion of an excellent franchise and its characters. In the movie grade book, it earns an A.