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Dark, brooding 'Logan' provides satisfying send-off to Wolverine

Through 17 years of X-Men films, Hugh Jackman has played the fan favorite character of Logan, the Wolverine, in every one, and regardless of their individual qualities as films themselves, he has always given solid, character-driven performances that have done the comic book hero justice.

Because of this legacy, it is with great enthusiasm that I say Jackman’s final film in the role, simply titled "Logan," could be the best of them all.

The film opens on the border between Mexico and the United States at a time in the near future. Mutants, the focus of the series, have been mostly eradicated, leaving only Logan, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), and a new character called Caliban (Stephen Merchant), as the last surviving naturally born mutants on earth.

Because of this, they are forced to lay low. Logan is now a limousine driver, a far cry from his career as part of the X-Men.

At a hideout on the border live Charles and Caliban. The former was the creator of the X-Men and practical savior of mutantkind in the ’80s. He is now relegated to a hospital bed in a rusted-out water treatment tank, where he sits idly, suffering with a crippling degenerative brain disorder.

Caliban is better off, but not by much. Although his mind is sound, he is unable to go outside without full body coverage, because his mutant "power" serves as more of a curse – the sun burns his skin like sulfuric acid.

Logan eventually gets an escape from its monotony, as Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a woman in hiding from a dangerous pharmaceutical company she used to work for, begs him to take her 11-year-old daughter, Laura, (Dafne Keen) across the border so she will be safe.

It quickly becomes clear to Logan that Laura has much in common with him, as they’ve suffered similar fates at the hands of immoral people throughout their lives.

With this knowledge, Logan swears to go on one last ride that to save mutantkind.

The main roles are handled very well, particularly those of Logan, Laura and Charles.

It’s sad to see Charles in such a crippled and debilitated state; he talks to himself, and raves unceasingly about nonsensical things due to his disorder. Sometimes his old self shows through, however, revealing that pieces of the telepathic, respected former leader of the X-Men are still there.

Logan’s is also a disheartening story. Before, he was an unstoppable killing machine who was more than a match for any foe, while in this film (which takes place in 2029), his self-healing powers are weak, and his metal skeleton has been slowly poisoning him for years.

In the movie’s opening scene for instance, Logan kills a group of four carjackers in self-defense, but not without some difficulty. He ends up with multiple gunshot wounds that take his healing powers an unusually long time to alleviate.

Laura shows some hope in this film’s world of despair and uncertainty, because she is a mutant who shares Logan’s mutant powers. Although she is young, she shares Logan’s skills; she is a competent yet merciless survivor who has had to fight for everything in her life.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be said about the villains in "Logan" without revealing some important plot elements. On the surface, our heroes are mainly on the run from Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and his private force of cyborg special operatives called the Reavers, who have been employed by the dubious "pharmaceutical" company hunting Laura.

Pierce himself is part of something greater in terms of villains, but they are a relative secret outside of the film. They are well-portrayed – threatening adversaries perfect for the harsh and dismal vision of the Marvel universe’s future illustrated throughout "Logan."

The action scenes in "Logan" are blatant and unapologetically violent to say the least. This should be expected, given Logan and Laura’s blades, but they are portrayed in such a visceral, realistic and believable way that you can’t help but suspend your disbelief and be a little shocked.

The fight scenes are also shot very clearly, so don’t count on missing any graphic imagery here. That aside, your decision to see the film should not hinge solely on the violence, as the drama and character moments make the brutal fights so much more meaningful than just mindless carnage. The violence goes to show the harsh reality facing Logan, and depicts Laura’s sad but all too true vicious nature, proving she is just as much an animal as Logan once was.

Speaking of dramatic and emotional moments, Logan has absolutely no shortage of them considering, as you probably could surmise, this is not an upbeat or exceptionally happy movie.

Although most of these moments are, sadly, spoilers, the emotion and drama is very powerful. When I saw the film, people were crying on more than one occasion, and I did not know how to feel seeing such an emotionally powerful movie.

On top of it all, it’s sad to see how meaningless the exploits of previous X-Men films proved to be given the disastrous state of mutantkind portrayed here.

Taking everything here into account, "Logan" is a depressing, very violent, emotionally powerful and truly great film that is both an exceptional character study and powerful action movie. Most important, it is the final outing for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. "Logan" is the perfect send-off for one of comics’ most storied characters.

Quinn Zack is a sophomore at Hamburg High School.

 

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