Fox was taking a big chance when they released Deadpool with an R-rating because they were risking losing family money on a superhero movie. There was nothing to worry about when it was the number one opening weekend R-rated movie of all time and finished as the second highest grossing R-rated movie of all time behind only The Passion of the Christ. It made the decision to release Logan, the third Wolverine solo movie, as an R-rated film.
Logan is as different a movie from Deadpool as you will ever see. While Deadpool was R-rated because of raunchy humor and gore, Logan was more of a western than a superhero movie and had horrific scenes of gore and violence and the F-bombs in this movie were never done in humor. Logan is the grimmest depiction of a superhero ever brought to the big screen.
The movie is loosely based on the 2008 Wolverine storyline Old Man Logan by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted). That comic book storyline took place in a world where supervillains actually defeated superheroes and split the United States up into territories ruled by different villains. Wolverine, now old, retired and lived with his family. When his family died, Wolverine came out of retirement and destroyed everyone who got in his way.
The only real things that this movie shares with Old Man Logan is an old Wolverine who has retired and the introduction of a girl known as X-23.
In Logan, the year is 2029 and no mutant has been born in 25 years. There was also something horrible that happened in the past that killed many of the X-Men and Professor Charles Xavier might have had something to do with that. Logan is now caring for Charles, keeping him drugged and sedated, as well as kept in a metal container where he can’t hurt anyone with his powers since he now suffers from dementia. There is a third mutant known as Caliban, whose power is tracking other mutants.
Logan is retired from being a superhero and works as a limo driver when he is not caring for Charles. The movie starts out showing how violent this gets when some thieves try to kill him and he slaughters them all without remorse. This movie is not short on blood, decapitations, and pure massacre.
A woman tries to hire Logan to help take a young girl named Laura to North Dakota so she can get to a safe haven in Canada. This is because she is a mutant. She also happens to have adamantium claws and a fast healing factor. And she has a huge temper and can kill people before they can even think about it. It doesn’t take long to figure out how she is connected to Logan.
Without spoiling too much, there was a private company that was taking kidnapped women, impregnating them with the DNA samples of various mutants, and then raising these kids as both weapons and test subjects. Laura, or X-23, was born using samples of Logan’s DNA.
The movie then has Logan and Charles take Laura and try to get her to North Dakota. They take a quick stop at Oklahoma City (a future OKC that looks nothing like the one that exists now) and then onward to the mysterious Eden, that might or might not even exist.
The acting in this movie is just spectacular. Patrick Stewart steals the show as Charles Xavier. He has played this role many times before but playing the character as a dementia-ridden old man who has a tragedy that his own brain has hidden from him makes for a fascinating character study. Seriously, this is Stewart’s defining moment as Charles Xavier and might be one of the best acting moments in any comic book movie.
Hugh Jackman, after over 10 movies, can do Wolverine in his sleep. However, he seems a bit rejuvenated in Logan. He has wanted to do an R-rated Wolverine movie for years and said he always wanted to adapt Old Man Logan. He really delivers a Wolverine we have not seen to this point and is perfect as the old cowboy heading out to one final battle.
Daphne Keen, whose only other credit was the TV show The Refugees, was perfect as Laura, or X-23. She was expected to show anger and resentment and did both very well. She also was a marvel to watch when she went into full-on rage mode, really matching Hugh Jackman’s performance. She was expected to play a mute for the first half of the movie so she wasn’t expected to carry any big dialogue scenes but she was great in her role.
As I said, this movie really went high and hard on the violence. There was also a lot of disturbing scenes in the movie with a lot of deaths, some to people that don’t normally die in these kind of movies, and of course deaths to beloved characters. This movie is a western and took the chance to slam that home by having Laura watch Shane with Charles and then quote lines from that classic western at the end.
Honestly, this movie is nothing like any of the other X-Men movies and it might be better to just look at Logan as the final chapter in the saga of Wolverine. Don’t look for continuity in this movie with the others and just watch it for a touching, heartbreaking, and gut-wrenching tale of the most beloved of all the X-Men characters. Logan is a perfect conclusion to Wolverine’s story and delivers on just about every level.