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‘Logan’ faces pain, grief in Jackman’s final movie

Latest installment treats grizzled hero with appropriate seriousness, sincerity

March 9, 2017

In this sendoff to Hugh Jackman’s performance as Logan, this film stands tall as not only an exceptional superhero movie, but as an emotional story about people holding close to whatever they has left.

Set in 2029, the story follows a scarred and beaten Logan, also known as Wolverine, as he reluctantly escorts a young girl, Laura (Dafne Keen), and Logan’s old mentor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), across the country, searching for a mutant haven, Eden. This Logan is far more grizzled than ever before, overwhelmed by loss and despair. He suppresses his pain through drinking or evasion from facing his sorrow.

Meanwhile, Logan, Laura, and Charles are being hunted by a corporation who believe they own Laura. Laura is a mutant with Logan’s abilities, who was raised to be a killing machine before she escaped the facility with the help of some nurses. The corporation quickly dispatches its hit squad, led by Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

The film takes a far more serious and poignant approach with its story and the emotional ramifications the characters endure. Where one superhero film may be light-hearted and inconsequential with its stakes and threats, “Logan” treats death and characters constantly being hunted with far more dramatic impact.

Moviegoers need not to see the past X-Men movies to fully understand the backstory of “Logan.” The film offers plenty of information and dialogue that informs the audience of the events that transpired in the new past.

Charles is a powerful psychic mutant, but is now suffering from Alzheimer's and repeated seizures. Logan looks after Charles, and whenever Charles tries to help Logan confront his pain, Logan tries to brush it off or tell him to stop talking, before the grief overwhelms him. Grief is a key component to “Logan” and one of its many strengths. Characters who try to avoid their problems or face them the wrong way, all learn to let the pain pass through them, and let them keep pushing forward.

One of the few weaker aspects of the movie would be that it is the last film with Wolverine. This becomes a flaw for the future of the franchise given the ambiguity of what exactly happened between the 1980s and now in the new timeline. The previous timeline, which featured the first three X-Men films, had many of the X-Men die because of their war with Magneto.

Now those films have been undone, it is unclear if a mutant war ever happened. The new timeline implies a large scale massacre of mutants through 2029, the movie’s present.

“Logan” is a gripping story and a violent action drama. Film studios should take note that violence and profanity isn’t the sole solution to making superhero films feel refreshing and engaging.

“Logan” is a film that deserves to be R-rated. It benefits the movie by showing the ramifications and stakes the characters must undergo. But if future superhero films follow with R ratings by being violent or profane just for the sake of it, these films will suffer.

The balance is needed between family-friendly and lighthearted and an adult approach to certain stories if the writing calls for it.

“Avengers” films can be more of a joy ride, “Guardians of the Galaxy” films should be witty and sarcastic. But when films such as “Batman v. Superman” actively try to be serious and dreary, they lose the effect of the dramatic moments.

When a film is dark and moody 100 percent of the time, the scenes or moments that should be treated seriously lose their weight, as they are buried in the sea of gray filters and melancholy voices.

“Logan” is one serious film that is appropriately adult. It is dealing with characters who are suffering and hate themselves for who they have become. The film paces itself with heartwarming moments, humorous scenes and layered characters.

“Logan” has set itself high on the scale of superhero films —  that future films should learn from. Its meaning, impact and the appropriate tone, this story about the X-Men’s most iconic hero, gets the treatment it deserves.

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