Set in the near future, Logan brings viewers into the last days of the mutant population, with Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) hiding out by the Mexican border. Professor X can barely contain his abilities, and Logan is finding that his healing factor isn’t working like it used to. With the mutants in the world dying out, with none being born for quite a few years, Logan is just trying to stay away from it all. That all changes when a woman begins searching for Logan, insisting that he help her protect a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen), who has abilities much like Logan.
The R rating that fans have been clamouring for since Wolverine was introduced on film has finally arrived, and Logan does all it can to earn that rating. There’s plenty of violence and language, but there’s also a lot of heart to be found in the latest, and final adventure, of the world’s favourite mutant. There’s also a lot of the twisted, shadowy scientists and agents showing up to make sure there’s some kind of Wolverine around to cause trouble. That’s the one downside to Logan, but that may be something that is different for each viewer.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Wolverine, or the X-Men really. I find the stories are always confusing, as there’s always so many characters running around, and the seemingly endless parade of agencies and evil scientists working to create mutants like Wolverine always seemed silly. While there’s very few characters to be found in Logan, allowing the focus to be put squarely on Jackman, Stewart, and newcomer Keen, there’s still the ridiculous mad scientists and interchangeable bad guys who only exist to get sliced up by Logan.
Most of the film is concerned with Logan and Professor X, along with Laura, who viewers will recognize as X-23, and that’s a great thing. Jackman and Stewart are at their peak, even if their characters are at an end. These are far and away the best performances from both actors in these roles, and chances are that many longtime fans will be wiping tears away at a few points. Logan holds nothing back, both in its violence, and it’s emotional moments. Dafne Keen manages to steal the show here, creating a character that fans will want to see plenty more of. Her turn as X-23 is exactly what the character should be. Equal parts pissed off mutant and innocent little girl, Keen walks the line brilliantly. If Jackman is finished with the Wolverine character, Keen is the perfect person to pick up the character of X-23, and carry on the legacy of a clawed warrior.
A lot of Logan is about family, which is inescapable when you have Logan forced to play father figure to a young girl, while Professor X has always been a father figure to mutants like Wolverine. There’s nothing wrong with this, but there are some moments where the idea is hammered home a little too obviously. A late moment in the film finds the trio hiding out at a family farm, which leads to some good scenes, but isn’t subtle with the ‘family is a great thing’ idea that Logan has spent his life running from.
What saves those scenes from themselves is the surprising villain who arrives. This not only disrupts the moment, but also serves as a reminder of why Logan has been avoiding these places in life. It’s rather shocking to be honest, and my son couldn’t believe what was happening as we sat through the preview screening of the film. His love for the character exceeds mine, and his delight with this film shows how well it’s going to work for bigger fans of the series. Even if you’re more like myself, and not really that fond of Wolverine, there is a lot to love with this movie. Had Wolverine been more like this from the start, I think I would have been a much bigger fan. Hopefully this will mark a change in superhero films, giving fans a better vision of the characters they love, without leaving out the emotional moments these films are typically lacking.