Hugh Jackman’s run as the bloody whirlwind of rage and violence known as Wolverine has finally come to a close with “Logan.” The film was a far more dramatic take on the character, focusing on his new painful reality as one of the last remaining X-Men. Logan crosses paths with a young girl named Laura, who boasts healing powers and claws similar to him. The two make an unlikely duo as they plot a trip across the country in search of a haven.
“Logan” was in rare form, pushing an R-rating for its debut. The film boasted gory violence, gritty drama and focused more on hitting deep emotional beats rather than fluffing up supervillains. Overall, “Logan” was a rousing success in comparison to previous Wolverine-centric movies, but it still had some missteps in its execution.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “LOGAN.”
Part of the foundation of “Logan” is that Gabriela has to get Laura to a meeting point in North Dakota in a few days’ time. Their timeline gets considerably strained, as they presumably drive from just south of the Mexican border through a variety of States. They make stops at a casino, a small farm, get sidetracked by attackers and Logan even passes out in the road at one point to awaken some unknown amount of time later.
Despite all this, they somehow managed to make it to the meeting point with time to spare. This in a viewing experience was not as cohesive as it could have been. It certainly didn’t merit a countdown timer by any means, but considering the amount of lengthy stops the characters made in a variety of States, it’s dizzying to keep up with a sense of real time passing in the film. This in turn kills some of the urgency behind Gabriela’s initial request, as well as the plot movement itself.
14. MISSED THE BOAT
Part of why Logan is working a garbage job as a chauffeur in the Southwest is so he can scrounge up enough money to buy a yacht. The former X-Man planned to take Charles Xavier out to the middle of the ocean, away from people he could potentially hurt, and wile away their days. This plan went awry when Donald Pierce reveals that he’s aware of Logan’s movements and suspicious he’s been hiding the ailing Xavier. Wolverine panics, attempting the fast track the boat sale with limited funds, when Gabriela approaches him with an offer promising lots of extra cash.
This way of getting Logan to be motivated in taking up Gabriela’s job was paper thin at best. Considering how he was in full-on panic mode the moment he talked to Pierce, why would Wolverine be totally comfortable abandoning Xavier for several days in order to earn the rest of the boat money? Not only was it a cheap way of rolling Logan into the whole Transigen mess, the boat itself never really reached its important status (symbolic or not) that its characters amped it up to be.
13. COMICS META
During their travels, Logan finds a stash of “X-Men” comic books in Laura’s backpack. He chides her, saying that it’s largely full of untrue events written to make the real stuff more exciting and sell issues. At one point, Logan discovers that the location Gabriela directed him to deliver Laura to, is actually the same coordinates in the comic. This furthers his irritation with Laura, as well as his disbelief that the Eden meet up point actually exists.
Even though it was a bit of a fourth wall break for “Logan,” the existence of the comics in such a darker take on X-Men seemed off-putting. Sure, it’s used as a way for Wolverine to think Laura has her head filled with nonsense, but the question of Eden’s existence seemed like one that could easily be posed without the books in question. The comics also appear as a strong piece of pop culture within the film’s universe. One would think Logan would have gotten a cut of the royalties to pay for a boat by now, instead of wasting his days carting around drunken prom dates to scrounge up cash.
12. ADAMANTIUM BULLETS
Early on in the film, Caliban confronts Logan about an adamantium bullet he found in the former X-Man’s belongings. He accuses Wolverine of planning to kill himself with it once Xavier has passed. The item changes hands however, as Laura took it from Logan while he was resting at the new mutants camp and asks him about it. In the climax of the film, she loads it into a firearm and handily wastes X-24 with a single head shot.
Even if Logan somehow procured a specially made ammunition of the rare metal, this is still a convenient plot device at best. Early on in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” the clawed hero took one of these bullets to the head, which resulted in memory loss rather than death. Why then, would this single shot completely obliterate X-24’s brains (a souped up Logan clone) and put him down for good? Regardless of this universe’s continuity, the whole adamantium bullet schtick worked about as well in “Logan” as it was in its first cinematic debut.
11. DOOMED MUNSONS
During their travels, Charles, Laura and Logan assist a family with retrieving their horses from a busy highway. The folks in question are Will, Kathryn and Nate Munson, whom offer dinner at their home as a way of thanks (to which Xavier happily agrees). The trio of mutants stay at the family’s farm and enjoy a nice reprieve from their desperate escape from the Reavers. Unfortunately, the baddies hone in on them, unleashing the X-24 clone on the innocents. The super mutant ruthlessly kills every member of the family, while Logan and Laura barely escape with their lives.
The Munsons were a positive force in the film, but were difficult to watch with the knowledge that something probably was going to go wrong for them as soon as they crossed paths with Logan. Even Wolverine himself keeps harping to Charles that something terrible will befall the family because of the trio. Due to this, the great messages of kinship and heft behind the Munsons were largely underserved by the foreboding plot that would have them all sadly killed.
10. USE OF CALIBAN
Caliban is introduced in the film as a caregiver of sorts to Xavier. He cleans, preps meals and even irons Logan’s shirts. The character gets a change in status though, when he’s captured by the Reavers and forced to track Laura, Charles and Logan. Caliban leads the mercenaries across several states on the trail until finally catching up at the Munson farm. In a final act of defiance, the mutant sets off grenades in his cell in attempts to kill Pierce, but fails.
The issue for Caliban in “Logan” is more so that his role in the plot seemed redundant. This being due largely to the fact that despite their best efforts, Laura, Logan and Charles are leaving a fairly obvious trail. Between the gas station incident with Laura threatening a clerk and an entire casino being stricken by one of Charles’ telepathic seizures, the group is not traveling under the radar as well as they hoped. Even after Caliban dies, the Reavers seem to track down Laura and Logan all the way to the border just fine. Caliban was a good addition to “Logan,” but not really a necessary one.
9. THREAT OF DONALD PIERCE
Donald Pierce in the film is largely seen as the head honcho of the Reaver squad of soldiers. He approaches Logan and asks him about Gabriela, while subtly hinting that he knows of the former X-Man’s activities secreting Charles away. Pierce seems to take the recapture of Laura personally, as he ruthlessly sends out squad after squad in pursuit. Donald however, does appear to answer to Dr. Zander Rice in their operations. Pierce seems content with keeping distance, relegating himself to firing the odd round at the mutants or sticking to surveillance.
The problem with Pierce is that he wasn’t an incredibly threatening presence in the movie. At first he was shown as an unsettling unknown factor, but as the film progressed, the danger he posed seemed to grow less and less. Despite having a modified robotic arm, he doesn’t really do much outside of yelling at his underlings or delivering exposition. Even his demise at the hands of the younger mutants was a testament of how helpless of a bad guy he turned out to be.
8. LESS VIOLENCE FOR LAURA
“Logan” was Wolverine’s first R-rated film outing and finally was able to show the true extent of the character’s signature violence. Straight out the gate, the character was seen gutting a group of thugs off a highway in a gory, amazing mess. Laura also had a share of the violence in her scraps with the Reavers. She leaped, sliced and diced alongside her father in a deadly whirlwind that was hardly stopped.
The issue with this is that the violence for Laura lacked the same punch that Logan’s did. One such example would be where Laura decapitates a member of the Reavers, but it’s done off screen and she emerges with the head moments later. Some of her claw strikes were obscured through windows or simply alluded to as well. Given the film’s freedom to show the real violence of Logan’s, it seemed a real misstep to dial down Laura’s share of that. If anything, X-23 is supposed to be the far more deadlier of the pair, but “Logan” only appeared to infer the extent of her brutality.
7. DR. RICE
Dr. Zander Rice is introduced a bit later in the movie as a Transigen scientist. He is seen in Gabriela’s videos as a lead researcher on the mutant experimentation project and later coerces Caliban into accurately tracking the escaped trio. Turns out that Rice had successfully cloned Wolverine into X-24, and can order him to dispatch whomever he pleases. Zander wants to recover and destroy the escaped experiments, as they interfere with his tight grip on mutant creation.
In the grand scheme of things, Rice turned out to be a rather unnecessary character in tagging along with the Reaver operation. Despite Donald’s claim otherwise, X-24 doesn’t appear to really take Zander’s directions all that well. Rice himself isn’t a fighter, and simply monologues for a minute before getting swiftly cut down towards the end of the film. For all his evil machinations, he was an odd addition to the character cast, especially given how much of the bad guy action is relegated to Pierce and his Reavers in the movie.
6. NO WESTCHESTER FLASHBACK
Throughout the film, subtle hints are dropped about what exactly has happened to the previous X-Men. Charles himself seems mystified, asking Logan if he did something to make them all disappear. After Xavier suffers a seizure and sends an entire casino into paralytic shock, a radio report is heard comparing the event to the “Westchester Incident” several years past. Later of course, Charles recounts the event and realizes he had accidentally killed a number of the X-Men during an unchecked seizure.
While there is some beauty leaving some things to the imagination, this seemed like a mistake for a few reasons. As “Logan” was a much darker take on things, it would have furthered Charles’ tragic deterioration by showing the damage he caused. It could have even revealed Xavier’s underlying want to forget the whole thing, before actually gaining a form of dementia. Seeing as how the movie was so keen to show the characters at their lowest, viewing just a glimpse of this tragedy that begun the downward spiral for both Xavier and Logan would have made for a fuller dive into this depressing new mutant reality.
5. REVEALING WOLVERINE’S SICKNESS
Logan begins his latest solo film a wheezy, groaning, hobbling mess of a man that doesn’t improve much over its run time. He walks with a noticeable limp, has dwindling eyesight and his wounds aren’t healing as fast as they should. Caliban tries talking to Logan about what could be the cause, but the former hero shrugs it off. He also shrugs off suggestions of treatment from a small-town doctor, remarking that nothing could heal what ails him. Eventually during his standoff with Rice, Logan indicates that the metal bonded to his bones are “poison.”
Burying this reveal behind such a quick, throwaway line truly undersold the whole thing. If the cause had simply come up during Caliban’s conversation, Logan’s activities thereafter would have carried more punch in showing that every use of his claws was literally killing him. It also would have affected the dynamic of Wolverine’s boat plan, as he may have wanted to get himself and Charles away from people before his body inevitably gave out. This would have compiled onto a good sense of urgency for the character, but it was unfortunately sold short in its final reveal.
4. RACE TO EDEN
Once Laura and Logan make it to the meeting spot in North Dakota with the other young mutants, they rest for a day and decide to set out for the Canadian border after. All of the children were led to believe that there is a sanctuary of sorts called Eden just across to the other country. The kids begin their travels, only to be hotly pursued by the Reavers. Dr. Rice and Pierce are in tow, and madly order that the children be captured before they reach the border. The young mutants are intercepted, but Logan arrives on the scene and ends up sacrificing himself so they may reach their destination.
The odd thing here is why was it such a race? Rictor yells at his friends to get to the border, but what exactly would happen when they got there? The Reavers have already chased Laura and Logan through Mexico and the United States, so the idea that the border to Canada would suddenly be off limits to them is laughable. The urgency here was pushed hard, but had no backbone to it.
Whether it be dealing with an uncooperative Xavier or a practically feral Laura threatening innocent folks, Logan is juggling a lot of problems on top of his own. The issues compound when it is revealed that a different clone of Wolverine, X-24, is being used as a weapon by Rice in recovering his experiment. The new and improved copy is relentless, brutally dispatching anyone who stands in the way of his mission objective.
The entirety of “Logan” is largely dedicated to focusing on the individual lives of its characters, rather than fluffing up some major supervillain or catastrophic plot for world domination. This is why it is so off-putting when the movie essentially introduces the Terminator done Wolverine style to the fray. Instead of simply trying to keep his body going for a few more weeks, Logan is tasked with taking on a super-mutant foe that eliminates his moral conundrums in dealing with Xavier with a swift claw stab. X-24 might have been cool to see in action, but his presence truly threw off the far more grounded tone of the film.
2. LOGAN’S DEATH
Throughout the film, Logan suffers tremendous damage. He’s been shot, stabbed and brutally beaten in his journey to deliver Laura to the meeting point. When he tries to deter the Reavers from capturing the young mutants in their race to Eden, X-24 is set upon him. The two fight, but Logan is overpowered easily, and X-24 impales him onto a nearby fallen tree. After Laura dispatches the clone, Wolverine remarks experiencing a moment of “what life looks like” (which Xavier described earlier) and dies.
Logan himself contemplates putting a bullet in his own head if it means freedom from his pain of existence. Given just how much the man has gone through, it seems silly that he was done in by a tree of all things. Wolverine was suitably brutal in this go round and his death could have been an equally as violent end. For a film that boasted a definitive end to Logan, he could have gotten a better death than being haphazardly thrown onto a fallen log in an incidental killing.
1. LAURA AND LOGAN’S RELATIONSHIP
Logan finds out fairly early in the movie that Laura was not Gabriela’s daughter (as she first claimed), but rather his biological child by way of experimental cloning. When they speak with each other, Laura questions her father’s disbelief in Eden and why he’s no longer the hero from all the “X-Men” comics. He generally shrugs off her concerns before admitting that despite his supposed heroism, he has failed to save those whom he’s closest to. In his final parting words, Logan tells his daughter to avoid becoming what Transigen had created her as: a mindless weapon.
Even though this was touted as a huge central point for the film, its delivery fell flat. The two characters largely don’t speak to each other directly until Charles is killed. When they do talk, Logan scolds Laura nonstop for her “nonsense” beliefs about Eden and sees her as a burden. An attempt was made to cement their father-daughter relationship while Wolverine recovered, but it came off as more of a self-deprecating confession for Logan than anything else. All this combined to make Laura’s tearful sob of “daddy” to her father as he died feel terribly tacked on, instead of heart-wrenching.
Where do you feel like the “Logan” movie dropped the ball? Be sure to tell us in the comments section!