By Justyn Gomez
This movie hit me harder than I thought it would. Getting the chance to grow up with a Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart helmed comic series is an experience I’ll always treasure. A worthy sendoff was the only thing that could do these men, and characters, the justice they deserve. Logan is a worthy sendoff.
The film wastes no time letting you know that you’re in for a gritty, dirty and bloody ride. The exposition flows naturally, and you’re given an understanding of how dire things have become from the get-go. We see that Logan (Hugh Jackman), is on the brink of death, has been working almost non-stop to save enough money to buy a boat for his remaining comrades, Charles Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart) and the albino-tracker mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Logan believes the world is no longer safe for them, and the only option left is living out their days on the sea. This solution is vindicated by the realization that the three have been hiding in an abandoned smelting plant in Mexico for Charles’ protection, since he’s been deemed a weapon of mass destruction by the U.S. Government. Because of Charles’ onset brain degeneration many mutants and close friends met their demise, which continues to weigh on him and Logan. The realization that The Wolverine has been demoted, and demoralized, to working as a limo driver to help pay for illegal prescriptions to keep Charles as far from lethal as possible by “pharmaceutically neutering” him, is agonizing. Bravo, Sir Patrick Stewart.
Logan’s true mission begins when he’s commissioned by a woman at her wit’s end pleading that “The Wolverine” is her only hope to take a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen) to a safe-haven in North Dakota. Logan reluctantly accepts after hearing her story, and the promise of a hefty fee. Things almost immediately go awry and Logan, Charles and Caliban are confronted by Transigen’s Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) who has been trying to retrieve Laura since her escape from the company’s lab of child/mutant hybrid experiments. Laura earns the distinction of being an absolute bad-ass as she takes an arrow through the chest and rips through the Reavers with a feral rage that rivals Logan’s. This clash culminates into one of the most enthralling chase sequences in recent memory, effectively launching the trio into the role of prey.
What follows is the intimate tale of a dying man that finds he no longer has a place in the world he’s helped save countless times before. Through this, Logan discovers his purpose: ensuring Laura’s safety and the survival of the next generation of mutants (which is showcased further by denying the money promised to him once he and Laura reach their destination). Logan fights with the pure emotion of a terminal man, struggling to protect the lives of children who just want to live. Every step he takes showcases the toil his body has taken over the years, yet he continues to fight until his final breath, telling Laura what she needed to hear most: don’t be the weapon she was made to be.
Hot damn, James Mangold, Hugh Jackman and crew. It’s not often that a film so effectively eviscerates my heart, yet you made it seem effortless. The amount of sheer soul emanating from the screen was astounding, and the groove was palpable. From the opening scene, I knew this would be a film for the ages, and the best way to sendoff the man behind the claws.
All great stories come full circle.