LOGAN
Author: JoAnne Hyde
Date: March 2, 2017

SYNOPSIS: It's 2029. Mutants are gone--or very nearly so. An isolated, despondent Logan is drinking his days away in a hideout on a remote stretch of the Mexican border, picking up petty cash as a driver for hire. His companions in exile are the outcast Caliban and an ailing Professor X, whose singular mind is plagued by worsening seizures. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy abruptly end when a mysterious woman appears with an urgent request--that Logan shepherd an extraordinary young girl to safety. Soon, the claws come out as Logan must face off against dark forces and a villain from his own past on a live-or-die mission, one that will set the time-worn warrior on a path toward fulfilling his destiny.

Night falls.

Winter has come.

It’s midnight in the garden of humans and mutants.

Go ahead and add any other metaphor for darkness that you wish since it’s impossible to overdo the somber tone of Logan. The performances are perfect and the production values are sky high, but director James Mangold brings to the screen a film that is unrelentingly intense. Logan is rated R for language and extremely brutal violence, but unlike the other R-rated superhero film Deadpool which was wickedly funny, there’s no humor in it.

Set in 2029 when the mutant population has dwindled, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is reduced to working as a limo driver. He’s in rough shape as his self-healing factor dwindles, and he’s suffering from adamantium poisoning. He’s also taking care of Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) who’s now in his nineties and alternately lucid and senile. Logan has hidden Charles in an abandoned smelting plant just across the Texas border in Mexico. Charles suffers from seizures, which with his telepathic powers, can turn deadly for anyone in the immediate area. At the minimum, people will be paralyzed. Logan buys illegal drugs to keep the seizures under control. Also caring for Charles is albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant), a gentle being who can sense and locate other mutants.

A desperate woman, Gabriella (Elizabeth Rodrigues), approaches Logan begging him to help her get a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen) to a safe haven called Eden in North Dakota so that she can cross the border to safety into Canada. Logan refuses, but, of course, it won’t be that simple. Soon a ruthless security officer, Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), turns up looking for her, too. He works for an outfit called Transigen, run by Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant), located in Mexico because its work is illegal in the States. Pierce leads a team of Reavers, criminal cyborgs, who will stop at nothing to capture and kill Laura.

Why, you may ask, would anyone want to kill a child? Laura is not just any child. She’s part of an experimental group of clones who were reproduced using the DNA of mutants in hopes of using their powers as weapons. The children, however, had different ideas and escaped.

Charles informs Logan that Laura is very much like him which becomes obvious when her adamantium talons pop out. Logan as a father? Well, sort of. It’s his DNA that produced her. He reluctantly agrees to help Laura get to Eden even though he doesn’t think it exists. At this point, the film turns into a traditional chase film. The bulk of the film revolves around Logan’s desperate struggle to help Laura and the other child victims.

The Logan character is loosely based on a story arc in the comics titled “Old Man Logan”. Rather than the superhero of his previous films as Wolverine, Jackman is physically weakened, sporting gray hair and a limp. The character is much more human and vulnerable. When Jackman said that this would be his last performance as Wolverine, he wasn’t kidding.

The R-rating is well-deserved. We’re used to seeing Wolverine slice and dice bad guys, but we’re not used to seeing a kid do it. There’s blood and guts galore and plenty of F-bombs. There a number of surprises in the story line, which I won’t reveal here, but suffice it to say that Logan is definitely not a feel-good film. The film is long, and it felt a bit like an ordeal at times.

As I said earlier, you’ll find no fault with the performances or the production in general, but it’s definitely not a date-night viewing experience. Logan is for Marvel’s X-Man fan base, and they will love it. - JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: B+


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