Continuity has never been the X-Men franchise’s strongest suit, and Logan is no different. Despite deliberately recalling specific events in previous films, Logan should more or less be treated as a standalone film. This, of course, comes with many caveats. The first is that Logan is in no way meant to be your first introduction to the long-standing mutant franchise. Familiarity with the characters is a necessity to fully appreciate the major character arcs that Logan presents.
Secondly, it’s best to accept that every other mutant we’ve seen in the past films are now dead. For real this time. Although Logan takes place several years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past (specifically the future when Wolverine wakes up at the mansion), so much has changed at this point considering that only Professor Xavier and Logan are left. It’s never explicitly explained, but the film gives out enough information for us to conclude that all those other characters like Cyclops, Jean, and Storm are dead due to the Professor’s deteriorating psychic abilities. Don’t expect any fun cameos in this one, because there are none.
Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow, and frankly ludicrous. But here we are. This isn’t exactly the first time that this franchise has pulled off something like this, but it’s best to just go with it. Once that’s all settled, then you can begin to really experience what is supposed to be Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as Wolverine.
In terms of plot, Logan is as simple as they come. The mutant gene is now mysteriously gone, so some bad guys decide to make mutants of their own to train as soldiers. But a weapon called X-24 is invented, which is much easier to control than a bunch of violent children with superpowers, so they scrap the project by executing them. Some sympathetic nurses break out the children from the compound. One of them reaches out to Logan to help one of the kids named Laura. Logan and Xavier find out that Laura has the same powers as Logan because she was created with the use of Logan’s DNA. The bad guys come after them and they fight. Death and mayhem occur. Repeat ad nauseum until the climactic showdown. The end.
Logan doesn’t really have many surprises up its sleeves. It’s a fairly straightforward, almost generic action film in terms of plot. But what it lacks in a compelling narrative it more than makes up for with its pulse-pounding, violent action scenes. We’ve never really seen Wolverine quite like this before. Previous films in the franchise have attempted to push their PG-13 ratings to the limit, but it’s not quite the same as finally going all out in an R-18 action film like Logan does. The result is a relentlessly thrilling and entertaining action film.
But even more important, the violence never feels excessive. Director James Mangold and his team understands that violence for the sake of violence can end up being tedious instead of entertaining. Despite being given the freedom to depict the story’s action without any limitations, Logan never devolves into a film student’s wet dream of what an R-18 Wolverine would look like. The rampage is appropriately brutal, but never cartoonish. It also takes the action to a surprising level of intensity. When it starts, it immediately goes into a breakneck pace, assaulting you in a whirl of sound and blood that leaves you breathless in all the right ways.
All in all, Logan is a gritty, exciting ride that brings a satisfying end to two iconic characters. It is appropriately emotional and provides a surprising dramatic weight that elevates it above being just another action-packed comic book movie. At the same time, it strikes a delicate balance between the story’s seriousness and its more entertaining aspects. It might carry a bit more weight than your usual action bockbuster, but it isn’t any less fun as a result. Only time will tell as to just how final the ending of Logan is, but in any case, this is as satisfying a conclusion as we’ll probably ever get.