With the recent announcement of Hugh Jackman reprising his iconic role as Logan, also known as Wolverine from the Marvel Comics famous mutant team of heroes known as the X-Men, I thought, why not do Logan (2017)? Actually, I am surprised I have not covered it sooner. It is also interesting to think about it in regards to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), where it is today, and how it stacks up to those titles. In short, despite belonging to the same comic book company, this one does not fit with those now more familiar films. It is a fitting metaphor for the end of the sort of competition between the MCU and other Marvel franchises, with Logan marking the final gasp of the latter before it was all absorbed by Disney. As such, it is a different movie, and that should be appreciated, even if it is tragedy.
I am not being hyperbolic when I call Logan a tragedy. There is none of the glitz of the previous superhero movies. Instead, you have the title character (Hugh Jackman), masquerading as a limousine driver named James Howlett, passed out drunk in his conveyance for hire. Not the most heroic of introductions. What awakens him is a group of ruffians trying to steal the wheels. His gruff request that they leave is scorned, and he is forced to take action. Unlike what you might expect, Logan has lost a step and it is evidently difficult for him to bare his trademark adamantium claws. As such, the violence with which he chases them away is even less heroic. It goes even further in that direction when he turns away a woman named Gabriela Lopez (Elizabeth Rodriguez). She claims to know Logan as Wolverine, and wants his help in escorting her and a young girl to a fabled place for mutants called Eden. This is not Logan’s only problem. He is later approached by a man named Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), who has apparently been monitoring Gabriela. His real target is the girl she is traveling with, Laura (Dafne Keen), a mutant known as X-23 and who has escaped from the laboratories of Alkali-Transigen, the biotechnological corporation for which Pierce works. He wants Logan, whom Pierce knows too well, to bring in Gabriela and Laura. Logan refuses. His next move is to go to his hideout over the Mexican border where he helps another aging mutant, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), take care of the dying Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the former leader of the X-Men. The disease that is killing him is partially responsible for the destruction of so many mutants, giving off a mental pulse to which they are particularly sensitive. Logan keeps this in check by providing Professor Xavier with a special serum. All Professor Xavier wants to do is sail off in a boat to die some place. This wish receives a boost when Logan gets a request for a ride offering a large sum of money. This turns out to be Gabriela. When he sees the amount of money, he reluctantly agrees, but is unable to collect when he finds her murdered in her hotel room. Upon returning to his compound, he also discovers that Laura has stowed away in his trunk. This is just in time for Pierce and his goons to show up looking for Laura, who, by the way, has Logan’s powers of healing and an adamantium skeleton. A fight ensues with Logan collecting Professor Xavier and Laura and making a desperate escape. Unfortunately, Caliban gets left behind, and he has the ability to track mutants. Now on the run, eventually the trio takes refuge with a farming family, the Munsons. They encounter them on the road after nearly getting into an accident with them while the Munsons are hauling horses. After helping them round up the escaped stock, Will Munson (Eriq La Salle) offers dinner, and Professor Xavier happily accepts. Following dinner, Logan assists Will with some locals. Meanwhile, a clone of Logan enters the room where Professor X is sleeping, murdering him, and abducts Laura. Logan returns to find that Pierce has once again caught up with him, and now he must fight a younger and faster version of himself, the X-24. He eventually prevails with the help of a mortally wounded Will and Caliban sacrificing himself. This leaves Laura and Logan alone. They bury Professor Xavier before continuing their journey. Though Logan remains skeptical, Laura wants them to continue on to Eden, citing the comic books for which the real X-Men were an inspiration, as evidence of its existence. It proves to be a long, hard drive, and it exhausts an already wounded Logan from his fight with X-24. In fact, he passes out before they meet up with another group of young mutants heading to Eden. Their leader, Rictor (Jason Genao), says they are going on ahead without Logan. This means a tearful goodbye with Laura, but in the morning he realizes that they will not make it without his help since Pierce is bound to be waiting for them. Hence, he uses the special abilities enhancing serum Rictor leaves him to go after the group. He finds them under attack by Pierce’s men, and with the boost provided by the serum, is able to make short work of them. While the children up killing Pierce, Logan once more tangles with X-24, though with the drug wearing off. As a result, Logan ends up being impaled on a tree, though Laura finishes off his adversary with a special adamantium bullet. Logan eventually dies of his wounds, his gravesite marked by a wooden “X” as the others walk away.
I blame Deadpool (2016) for the bloodier and more risqué content in Logan. Still, it is an interesting study in remorse and letting go. Logan is clearly having difficulty adjusting to life after being an X-Man, which is ironic because he was only ever the most reluctant of heroes. It reminds me of the book in the Bible known as Ecclesiastes. The oft repeated phrase in this Wisdom book is that there is a time and a place for everything under the sun. In Logan’s case, there is a season in one’s life for being a superhero, and another for being a limo driver. I say that he has not properly processed this transition because he acts embittered whenever the past is mentioned. It is clear that it is painful. With such memories, there is a grace in them, too. I appreciate that Logan kind of gets to this point in the wake of Professor Xavier’s death. Logan seems to realize everything that Professor Xavier had done for him, and that he should try and do something similar for Laura. If that is not growth for the character, then I am not sure I know the meaning of the term. Granted, this is presented in a non-faith way. Still, such lessons are a blessing, and when seen in the proper context, can lead us closer to God.
Having said that, I am not sure I would recommend Logan. It is certainly different from your typical Marvel fare, but is that necessarily a good thing? I suppose the possibility always existed to see Wolverine go into full berserker mode, so to speak, but what of the kids who idolize this character? Between that and the brief nudity, I would say pass.