Logan and the Lovely Day

How do you conclude a trilogy that’s been pretty okayish from chapter one? We may crave the subject matter, we approve the action, and everyone loves a snarling Huge Jackedman, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out of the gate with that horrifying Deadpool knockoff, and The Wolverine had Japanese fighting robots. What even? The trick in Logan is to remove our beloved character from the past and rocket launch him into the future. Logan skips a decade of disasters that give the impression the X-Men Universe had a significantly worse 2016 than we did. The only remaining evidence of a rough few years is a coarse collage of physical and emotional scars. What’s to be done when a guy’s only trick is superhuman healing and he can’t even get that right?

Things have changed. Mutants are nearly extinct and the remaining few are hiding away from official-looking men with big guns. True to character, Logan (Hugh Jackman) doesn’t seem to care much. He spends his nights drinking, his days as a chauffeur, and his weekends delivering epilepsy meds to Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) in Mexico, where he’s living out his days as a retired nuclear bomb. On a regular afternoon of chauffeuring, a passer-by recognises Logan and begs him to help save her little girl. He refuses, but her interference pulls Logan back to the surface where the official-looking gunmen like to roam. Whether he wanted to help or not, Logan finds himself stuck with the girl. Little, yes, but Laura (Dafne Keen) is not entirely helpless. With mutant powers mysteriously similar to Logan’s, the girl slices her way through her would-be captors into Logan’s reluctant protection and Charles’ open arms. Thus begins a unique family road trip full of pit stops, friendly farmers, snack breaks, and hand grenades.

The most obvious point to make right off the bat is that Logan is violent. It’s as if the reality of a future without Wolverine movies upped Logan’s quota for face-stabbings. Something has to fill the Hugh Jackman-sized void, and the answer seems to be blood clots and body parts. It also doesn’t help the splatter levels that Logan’s fast-healing abilities are on the fritz. He’s a little older now. Things stop performing as organically as they used to. Whether he can fully unsheathe the last claw or not, Logan doesn’t hesitate to high five his opponents with the other two; a technique that Laura seems to admire and adopt.

Laura, the Baby Wolverine (officially known as X-23), is adorable for about thirty seconds. You have just enough time to exhale the “aww” before she hamstrings her enemy. Laura can just as quickly revert back to a kid with pink sunglasses and youthful curiosity who desperately wants to ride the coin-operated pony. Somehow, she and Logan were always meant to be the perfect (if not the cleanest) team.

Next to all the violence, Logan is woven with some beautifully tender moments. Watching our heroes limp by as old men, cherishing naps more than a night of hooliganism, is a little heartbreaking. Old man Logan is tough to see, but old man Xavier is just tragic. Xavier’s frailty combined with our broken hero trying to save a little girl stirs up a regular Grave of the Fireflies situation. I’m not crying – you’re crying. The juggling of this fragile little family with their flesh-ripping interludes makes Logan an actual joy to watch. That sounds a bit sadistic… I mean it makes for an interesting movie. There’s more than one level of volume, but the quiet moments successfully manipulate us into caring for these ruthless serial killers.

Reluctantly, Logan gets on board with the plan to reunite Laura with the other children of the corn. He’s got nothing better to do: his limousine is a lease riddled with bullets and the closest bar is a wheat field. Logan’s plot follows a simple, single direction: north. How far they’ll get and how many citizens will be murdered along the way is what makes it exciting. Logan is undoubtedly the best of the Wolverine series and actually nestles itself very well in the updated X-Men franchise. It’s gruesome, sentimental, and a steady 7.5/10.

“We’ve got ourselves an X-Men fan.”

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