Movie: Directed by James Mangold.

Inciting Event: A Mexican nurse gets Logan to meet at her hotel, where she begs him to take her and her “daughter” to a safe haven in North Dakota, in exchange for money Logan desperately needs in order to transport an ailing and dangerous Charles Xavier to safety. After the initial meeting, the woman is killed when Logan comes to pick them up.

Two things to note about this Inciting Event:

1) Note how Logan only brushes against the main conflict here. Even though he is all but engaging with it from the moment he meets the girl Laura and agrees to take the job, he isn’t yet enmeshed with the main conflict. How can he be? He doesn’t even know the main conflict exists as yet. He doesn’t know who Laura is, what she can do, or why people are after her.

2) Note how even though Logan does agree to the Call the Adventure here, in signing on to take the girl to North Dakota, he doesn’t do it willingly. He begins by refusing, and even after he agrees, he’s not happy about it. This beat is important to both the pacing of the plot and the character’s ultimate development.

First Plot Point: Bad guys—including the metal-armed Donald—arrive at Logan’s hideout to take back the girl, who stowed away in Logan’s car after her nurse-protector was killed. Not only does these beat fully engage Logan with the main conflict (the bad guys destroy his hideout, apparently kill his friend Caliban, and, in discovering Charles’s existence and whereabouts, endanger them all), but it also reveals the full extent of the main conflict. Laura shows her true self—she is Logan’s genetic daughter—when she claws her way through the bad guys, allowing them all to escape.

First Pinch Point: Not a huge turning point here; I missed it the first time and had to go back to try figure out what it might be. Basically, both antagonistic pinch and turning point come via Logan’s revelation about how Laura was created as a weapon, using his genetic material. Charles is determined to get the girl to safety in “Eden,” but Logan remains resistant.

Midpoint: While hiding out in Las Vegas, Charles and Laura are discovered by Donald and the bad guys. Charles freaks out, has a seizure, and blasts the entire casino with a potentially deadly psionic wave. Logan and Laura—the only two not incapacitated—work together to get Charles his medicine and escape in the aftermath. Tentatively (very tentatively), the three begin bonding into a tatterdemalion family.

Second Pinch Point: While hiding out with a farming family, the Wolverine clone X-24 kills the family and Charles. Logan and Laura barely escape, and Logan collapses from his injuries—from which he is no longer able to heal so quickly.

This is quite obviously the story’s low moment. Big action movies tend to time this moment earlier than it should be placed (i.e., the Third Plot Point), just so they will have the necessary time to cram in big action sequences in the Third Act.

Third Plot Point: Logan and Laura discover Eden, where the other genetically-engineered mutant children are waiting for her before they make their run for the Canadian border. This is an appropriately-timed victory, but because Logan’s low moment already came with Charles’s death, the scene here isn’t followed up with a strong moment of inner questing and sacrifice—which would have strengthened both the character arc’s final evolution and the tension and rhythm of the remaining Third Act.

Climax: Logan realizes Donald and the bad guys are coming for the children, and he rushes to help in one final battle against X-24.

Climactic Moment: Laura kills X-24, using Logan’s adamantium bullet.

Climax: Logan dies, and Laura and the other children cross the border to safety.

Notes: For a great breakdown of Logan’s Positive Change character arc, see this excellent video by Lessons From the Screenplay:

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