James Mangold returns with the latest film that's taken in a drastically different direction. Also positioned to be Hugh Jackman's last outing in the role he defined, 'Logan' is loosely inspired by the comic Old Man Logan. We are taken to a world in the X-Men timeline far in the future. Most of mutant-kind is dead, including all the X-Men save for Wolverine and Professor X, both who are now more advanced in years. The professor is kept in a drugged state to prevent his psychic powers from getting out of control. Whereas Wolverine, whose ability to heal isn't what it used to be, tries to make ends meet as a limo driver, earning just enough to buy medicine for Charles Xavier, while saving up for a place they can go to that's far away from civilization.
However, as it turns out there are still some mutants around; one of them being Caliban, who has joined Wolverine and Professor X in hiding. Also introduced on film for the first time is the very young X-23, whose powers are similar to Wolverine and who was an experimental escapee. She hires the reluctant Wolverine to take her to a particular location where she expects to be free. But this won't be easy as they are pursued by the henchmen of the corporation that created her and want her back.
Logan takes a big step back from the grand spectacle of other X-Men outings, including some of Wolverine's own stand-alone films. There is no 'save the world' plot. As far as Logan is concerned, the world already ended for mutant-kind. What we have is a more grounded intimate story of a man who has nothing left to live for, drinking and contemplating suicide... until a reason in the form of a young girl looks up to him for guidance and protection while Logan himself tries to care for the only father figure he has left in Charles Xavier.
The young X-23, called Laura, while indeed being chased, vulnerable and outnumbered, can hold up her own in a fight and she does so with much savagery. Unlike previous X-Men outings which are usually PG-13, Logan earns it's 'R' rating with good doses of bloody painful dismembering clawing violence. So the action in this film is on another raw and brutal level not seen in previous films in the X-Men franchise. This is certainly not an X-Men film to take your younger teen kids to... But anyone else who has long been waiting to see Wolverine's more savage side explode on film will be very satisfied!
The film sticks to its core trajectory storyline of getting Laura to safety, and having Logan, Charles and Laura to bond, almost like family. But there are many good detours on the journey there. Many moments will shock fans and truly highlight how this film is indeed intended as a break with and a finale to at least one branch of the X-Men timeline.
Performances are excellent and very touching. Action sequences are great and even go out of their way to avoid the usual clichés common to their genre. If there's one nitpick to make it'd be that the villains are not strong and seem to be picked off all too easily. In this case the main antagonist force is simply a group of human soldiers, albeit many of whose limbs are now cutting edge prosthetics hinting at their dangerous line of work.
In many ways, Logan will definitely make it up there towards the top, if not the very top, of the list of everyone's favorite X-Men movies. A true highlight in the superhero genre because it dared to be smaller and different, but still manages to be just as epic in the scope of its characters. Here's hoping to see more of these kinds of films in the spandex genre alongside the typical summer exploding alien-fighting blockbusters!
I highly recommend Logan as one of the must-see films of this year! There is nothing after the credits if you're thinking of staying, but you should be able to catch the Deadpool short playing before the movie! Cheers to a wonderful send off to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine!