MOVIE REVIEW: Logan – R

Logan – R

 A brutal but touching saga about the X-Men’s most iconic member

By: Stephen Orr

From the get-go, please understand, this is not a movie for children – this is NOT the Wolverine from the kid-friendly comics, the TV-cartoons, the original X-Men movies, or even the first two solo films starring Hugh Jackman. This is a harsh, violent and intimate look at James Howlett, AKA Logan, at the end of the road, after a life of hard living and fighting.

Most of mutant-kind is either dead or in hiding, and Logan’s only companionship is the frail, dementia-stricken Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and albino mutant Caliban (Stephen Merchant). They are laying low in the deserts of Texas circa 2029. Logan is driving for a limo service to make ends meet and to pay for the meds that help keep the professor’s seizures (which trigger cataclysmic shock waves and paralysis in the area around him) at bay.

Logan gets into a scrape he wasn’t looking for when a woman with a child in tow, pleads for his help to take them to a safe place dubbed “Eden”. The young girl is like Logan, with retractable claws, healing ability, and mad fighting skills. She’s also being pursued by an organization with its roots in the same program that turned James Howlett into Weapon X so many years ago. Before long, Logan, Xavier and this “feral” girl, named Laura, are running for their lives, and Laura’s origins are slowly revealed as the story progresses.

Logan, in most ways, is not a happy story. It is very violent, the language is profane at times, and neither Logan nor the Professor have a bright future. However, I think it is the best story about Wolverine, and the X-Men in general, that has ever been committed to film. Director James Mangold, who also directed The Wolverine in 2013, has given Hugh Jackman the best possible stage to say goodbye to a character he’s been tied to for almost 20 years. Despite its brutality, the film Logan makes you feel for this reluctant hero in ways you may not expect, and touch you with the depiction of Logan’s relationship with Xavier and, eventually, the girl Laura. The ending of the film is extremely emotional, but it does leave us with hope that the X-Men franchise still has a fresh future.

Logan is a top-notch production, important to true, invested,mature X-men fans, and ranks high on my list of films based on comic characters. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 lightsabers.

NOTES FOR PARENTS: Logan is rated R, and it earns that rating. The camera does not shy away for the damage razor sharp adamantium claws can do in a fight, and heads, necks, torsos and limbs are not spared. The f-word is heard frequently, with a surprising number coming from Logan himself, and a few from the Professor. A girl very briefly flashes her chest at Logan in a limo.  Before the Logan film begins, there is a teaser for the next Deadpool movie with an implied scene of violence, some f-bombs and male buttocks pressed briefly against the glass of a phone booth.

There are NO mid- or after-credits scenes, but Johnny Cash’s “When The Man Comes Around” plays over the credits, and that’s always worth listening to all the way through.

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Bio: Stephen Orr wrote his first movie review in 1977 for Star Wars, published in his high school newspaper. A life-long fan of cinema, his interest in movies led to serving as the Navy’s very first official movie reviewer on the weekly video magazine “Navy/Marine Corps News”. A military retiree (since 2002) now working in IT maintenance and management for a school system in Virginia, he continues to write and post reviews of popular films on Facebook for his family and friends, and other online venues. 

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