The year is 2029, a world once populated with mutants, is now a vastly different place. There are few mutants left, and those that are, have become, for all intents and purposes, shells of their former selves. According to information imparted to the viewer, no new mutants have been born in twenty-five years. Logan, completely embodied by Golden Globe winner, Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables), no longer embraces his Wolverine persona. The regenerative powers that once allowed him to heal at a rapid pace, have slowed down considerably, additionally, he needs to wear reading glasses. The aforementioned, coupled with the adamantium poisoning from the metal coursing through his bloodstream, as well as the length of his life, leaves the former fearless member of the X-Men, in bad shape. The irascible and grizzled Logan, now going by his birth name of James Howlett, spends his days earning a living as a limousine driver. In his spare time, he attempts to drink away his demons and the painful regrets from his past. He does, however, care for the aged and infirmed Charles Xavier, played in a vulnerable and often times witty manner by three time, Golden Globe nominee, Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation). The former head of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, has been suffering from violent seizures, that not only put himself at risk, but because of his exceptional mental powers, anyone in his proximity. (As an aside: In order to make his appearance more sickly, before filming began, Patrick Stewart deliberately lost over twenty-one pounds).
In order to quell Xavier’s seizures, Logan purchases illegal prescription drugs from crooked, hospital employees. In addition, he is keeping the professor hidden inside of a windowless structure at an abandoned smelting mill, south of the border. Assisting as best he can with Xavier’s care, is fellow mutant, the albino Caliban, a role acted by BAFTA and Emmy winner, Stephen Merchant (The Office). Logan is attempting to save enough money to buy a boat to take Xavier away from the prison type atmosphere he’s forced to keep him in, and live a life far out on the ocean. Complicating matters, is the arrival of Gabriela, a former nurse of a shadowy, scientific organization called Transigen, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, (Orange Is the New Black). Transigen is responsible for the elimination of the majority of the world’s mutant population, but also is creating new mutants, in the form of children, under the guise of research to help the human race, when in actuality, it is attempting to create more destructive weapons for military use.
Gabriela secretly filmed the experiments that Transigen had been conducting involving the young mutants. Along with the help of other employees, she helped to set the children free. One young girl, Laura, portrayed by Dafne Keen, in her feature film debut, is taken by Gabriela. Laura is known to X-Men fans as X-23, and has the same powers as Logan, as well as adamantium claws. Keen gives a strong willed, mostly silent performance as the young mutant.
Gabriela, seeks Wolverine out because she wants him to escort her and Laura to a place called Eden, where all of the mutant children are going to rendezvous before crossing the border into Canada. Logan is at first reluctant to take the job, but reconsiders when Gabriela offers him a substantial amount of money, which will get him much closer to being able to purchase the boat. Standing in the way of that plan is a man named Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Pierce, along with a team of hired guns, is hunting Laura, and the other escaped mutant children, for Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant), the head of Transigen. Once Gabriela is murdered by Pierce and his cohorts, they come looking for Logan, Professor Xavier, and Laura. The arrival of Pierce and his men, set up an action packed escape sequence that showcases, to the viewer, how powerful X-23 is, and why she is being hunted. (As an aside: Emmy nominee, Millie Bobby Brown who portrays Eleven on the Netflix hit series ‘Stranger Things’ auditioned for the role of X-23).
Can Logan successfully see to it that Laura finds her way to Eden? Does Eden even exist? Could Eden merely be the wishful thinking on the part of Gabriela, who saw the location in an X-Men comic book? If Eden is real are other mutant children there, or is Laura the lone survivor? Will Professor Xavier, in his diminished condition, be able to endure a journey fraught with danger? Does Logan have one last fight in him, or do the ravages of age and injury prove to be just too much? All of those questions and more will be answered by the film’s conclusion.
The gritty, nuanced, and at times poignant film “Logan,” was directed by James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted). The movie is the third solo Wolverine film, as well as the final installment featuring Hugh Jackman as the iconic character. Mangold conceived the story, drawing inspiration from Mark Millar’s graphic novel “Old Man Logan,” as well as a number of films, including, but not limited to “Shane” (1953), “Paper Moon” (1973), and “The Gauntlet” (1977). Mangold co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Oscar nominee, Scott Frank (Out of Sight), and Emmy nominee, Michael Green (Heroes). “Logan” premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2017. Parts action, drama, sci-fi, and thriller, the movie has a runtime of 137 minutes.
Those sitting down to watch the film for the first time, expecting or wanting to see epic CGI battles, will be disappointed. The film is more mature in its approach and tone, relying more on emotion and story, than special effects, however, it still maintains enough mayhem to satisfy those seeking visceral thrills. In my opinion, I feel this is the quintessential best of the Wolverine movies, which not only met, but exceeded my expectations.