Don’t Be What They Made You

This review contains SPOILERS. If you have not seen “Logan”, it is recommended that you do not read this post.

The first few minutes of Logan will set the tone for the entire film. Logan is brutal. That brutality will often be present through violence; yet, the most brutal scenes will occur during moments of peace. The blows will feel as physical as they feel emotional and Logan absolutely does not hold back on either.

If you love both movies and comics then this is the movie you never knew you always wanted to see. It has little in common with any of the other super hero movies out there; the tone is dark and grounded and the tempo high with few comedy scenes. The plot is straightforward and does not get in the way of the story (which so often occurs with these movies); it’s detailed enough to hold its own and simple enough that it lets its protagonists shine. Just like a Johnny Cash song.

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real

And just like a Johnny Cash, Logan digs deep into human nature. It is subtle through and through but still pinches on the many questions that are quintessential to human condition.

You will witness the harsh contrast between Americans and Latinos, a contrast that cannot be understated in the current political state. You will witness greed and the faceless machines of power, coming after the weaker, the unprotected, the “different” in waves of black masked soldiers. You will witness old age, dementia and the burdens that people pick along the way. You will witness pain, the only thing that’s real.

The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

At times, Logan is hard to watch. These are characters running away from their past straight into the inevitability of their destiny. In doing so, they will remind you of all the things you’ve left behind, all the things you couldn’t change and the price you will always have to pay.

With the stage set this dark, Logan could’ve easily slipped into the realm of the unbearable. Too much gloom and darkness and people might miss the point. It didn’t and you won’t.

While there aren’t many comical scenes, there’s great comic relief. That comic relief serves two purposes: it allows you to take a breath and it allows you to realize that there’s something bright underneath all the layers of darkness.

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end

Logan is a reminder of how powerful an act of kindness can be. The heroes in this movie are not Wolverine or Professor X, just like the villains are not Pierce or Dr. Rice. The heroes are Logan, Charles, Laura. The nurse that risks her life to do what’s right. The family that offers the protagonists shelter. The kids who wait for other kids to give them a chance to get away.

These are individuals trying to do what’s right, doing the best they can with the hand they were dealt. These are folks like you and me, trying to adapt to a world that seems to get bigger and bigger while your own space gets smaller and smaller. These are humans, faulty humans, sensible humans. Humans like us, even when they are mutants. Before he dies, Will Munson pulls the trigger; remember that.

Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

There’s a particular scene where we see Logan and Laura in their jeep. Logan is too tired to carry on and he falls asleep. Laura jumps on the driving seat and heads into the sunset.

This is imagery doing the work of storytelling. Nothing is said in this transition and yet, this is the first moment when the baton is handed over. One is too tired to carry on; the other is just getting started. Later on, when Logan dies, that handover is complete.

And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

This is a story that could not have been told in any other way. Logan could never be the father that accepts his daughter and lives a peaceful life from there onwards. There was too much pain inside him, too much to forget and too much to forgive.

As Logan starts running through the woods, straight in the direction of danger, we get to see the Wolverine coming out one last time. Feral, unstoppable and insatiable. Fearless and powerful. Like a scream with no sound. Roaring.

We see him bleed – bleeding it all – to save the last thing that could possibly remind him of what was once good in life. We see him fighting himself, his past, his human condition. We see him win and lose, ambiguous, like he had always been.

Logan was always a character who would do what was right even if he didn’t know it. In his final moments, he knew; that was what it felt like.

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way