It took every last bit of director James Mangold's willpower to not put Wolverine on a train during the 2 hour and 20 minute runtime of "Logan." The "3:10 to Yuma" director gave the fans what they always wanted: A Wolverine movie with an R-rating that truly earned it.
"Logan" crashes through the screen with blood, sweat and tears through an absolutely haunting journey through the psyche of the most famous mutant in history. Frankly, I watch a film like this and wonder how fans are drawn to heroes like Superman instead; but that's a debate for another time.
I hesitate to call this the best X-Men film of all time ("Days of Future Past" still holds that title for me) but this is the sendoff that Hugh Jackman deserves. It's the one Patrick Stewart as Professor X deserves, too. While Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel get much of the credit for rebooting the superhero genre these days, it was Jackman and Stewart and X-Men that saved it from Joel Schumacher and Batman all the way back in 2000. They deserve our thanks.
With many of the trappings of a modern western, we meet Logan and Xavier on the United States-Mexico border in the not-too distant future. It's bleak. It's what you'd expect. Logan is dying, Xavier is dying and the only reason for hope is Laura, who we've known for a long time is X-23. If that doesn't mean anything to you, then you'll go in with fresher eyes and ears than most of the world.
She's played delightfully, and viciously, by Dafne Keen. Her birth date hasn't been revealed (she's either 11 or 12), in case you were wondering what level of "unknown" she's chilling out at as we await the X-23 film. If God is real, we'll get it. The bilingual child gives us what X-Men has too often failed to do in the past: a minority representing the subtext of what X-Men has always been about.
The true villain of the film is [redacted], trying to keep Logan, Laura and Xavier from reaching the finish line of their cross country road trip. That being said, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Boyd Holbrook's scenery-chewing performance as Price.
Holbrook is a revelation in this film. His southern accent is absolutely perfect and his half-robotic arm would make Luke Skywalker blush. Holbrook is the perfect, smarmy foil to Logan and I can only hope it gets him into a true western into the future; it's evident he loves the role.
"Logan" feels like a cross country race for survival. I say that with love, but at the same time I feel that keeps it from reaching the same heights as "Future Past." The pain and the longing is taken from past films and memories rather than generated within itself. The theme of the film (all things must end) also comes from within the mythos of the franchise. That's what keeps "Logan" from taking the title of "best X-Men film ever."
But if we're being honest, that's a high bar, and second on the list is nothing to sneeze at.