Logan, the X-Men’s famed Wolverine, bested the world’s worst hombres in his day. He tangled with Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants, fought the Silver Samurai and battled his very own brother.
But not even Wolverine can win the war against time.
It’s 2029, and the world has changed. Mutantkind has all but disappeared. The few who remain aren’t all that interested in donning tights and saving the world.
Logan’s no superhero now but a limo driver, chauffeuring grieving widows or drunken revelers through the streets of El Paso, Texas. He lives in an otherwise-abandoned compound just south of the border, doing his best to stave off a hidden, ticking time bomb.
That bomb is Charles Xavier.
The mind-reading former leader of the X-Men has some form of dementia now—a degenerative brain disease eating away at the world’s greatest brain. He babbles incoherently or rages at shadows. He’ll suffer seizures that, because of his psychokinetic abilities, can hurt or even kill those close by. And even when Charles seems to be in his right mind, he insists that he “talks” with a little mutant girl. Laura. But Laura’s just another delusion, Logan knows. It’s been decades since the last mutant was born.
Logan keeps Charles’ seizures in check and his mind manageable through some ill-gotten meds, but they’re losing their power. Charles is getting worse. So Logan’s squirreling away money to buy a boat—something they can take into open waters, where Charles’ increasing dementia won’t hurt or kill anyone. Well, anyone but Logan.
But Charles isn’t the only mutant on the clock. Logan limps now. He coughs. He bleeds. His wounds don’t miraculously knit themselves together like they used to. No, Wolverine’s legendary powers of regeneration are failing him. He’s dying.
But dying or no, Logan’s still a legend. And one day, a woman comes to him for help. She needs to get to North Dakota, she says. She’ll pay well if he’ll take her and a small, important bit of cargo: a little girl with a penchant for horses and pink sunglasses, a little girl being pursued by some very bad people.
She seems normal in most ways.
Except for the way she looks at people. The way she never speaks. And the way claws come out of her knuckles when she’s mad.
Charles sees one last opportunity to teach Logan something about life, hope and love. And when the two are forced to take the girl with them on one of film history’s strangest road trips, he drops a little life lesson on Logan at every stop for gas.
When the two come across a farmer and his son, trying desperately to shoo their wayward horses off the highway, Logan’s inclined to want to keep driving. “Someone’ll come along,” he says. “Someone has come along,” Charles points out. The two wind up having dinner with the family, one filled with smiles and laughter.
“This is what life looks like,” Charles tells Logan. “People love each other. You should take a moment …”
Logan doesn’t. Not then. But as the road trip progresses and he grows ever fonder of this little girl (Laura), he begins to see what Charles was talking about.
When Logan discovers that Laura’s mysterious female guardian has a bevy of old X-Men comics in her possession, the former X-Man is dismissive of those tales. “In the real world, people die!” he tells Laura.
In this movie, people die, too. Lots of people, and often in intensely grotesque and gratuitous ways. Frankly, there’s so much liquid, meaty mayhem here that I don’t think we can catalog it all.
OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS
Some of Logan’s limo passengers seem to taunt Latinos with chants of “U.S.A.!” insinuating that they don’t belong there.
Wondering if Logan‘s R-rating is a light one? Forget about it. When the moviemakers decided to go for a full-blown scarlet R, they didn’t skimp on the scarlet. They went full-bore bloody.
I don’t envy the parents of teenage X-Fans trying to navigate the conversations they’ll need to have about this often gratuitously gory movie. Put the foot down, and there may be Wolverine-style howls of protest. Give permission … well, the aftermath may be, in its own way, as scarring as anything Wolverine typically suffers.
It’s doubly unfortunate because, for all its blood, for all its f-words, Logan delivers some powerful messages.
And then there’s this: Implicitly, Logan’s story is one of redemption—one, perhaps, of salvation. Our protagonist is, after all, a wreck of a man when we first meet him, a beaten-down superhero with nothing left to save and no will to save it. Against his better judgment, against his own will, he discovers he does care. He finds someone to love, to save. And in the process, perhaps he saves himself.
By Focus on the Family Singapore. This review was adapted from Plugged In: the entertainment guide your family needs to make family appropriate decisions through movie reviews, book reviews, TV reviews, and more.