Thursday, March 9, 2017

Logan review

I'm going to guess that Donald Trump will get the metaphor in the movie Logan all wrong. You see in the film, Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must escort a dangerous mutant from Mexico across the United States to a place called Eden. I can just hear Trump now. That's why we need a great wall to separate us from Mexico. A lot of "bad hombres." Well, Donald, the metaphor is actually pro-immigration.

Logan starts out sometime in the future of the X-Men film franchise. A ninety something, Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is suffering from a disease which cause him to lose control of his telepathic abilities and must use drugs to treat it. He's taken care of by Logan (Hugh Jackman) who is also ailing and dying. They've isolated themselves by living on the Texas-Mexican border. Logan earns a living by working as a limousine driver. He's approached by Gabriella (Elizabeth Rodriguez) who wants him to take a young girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) to a sanctuary place in North Dakota called Eden. You see she's a biologically bred mutant who's escaping a company in Mexico called Transigen that breeds mutants to be assassins. And Transigen wants their product, Laura back.

The acting by the cast was remarkable. Patrick Stewart delivers one of his best performances. He's frail but when he loses control, watch out. It's an essay on becoming older yet he's more sentimental. Dafne Keen delivers a feral performance. She is a girl who was raised in a lab with virtually no social skills but a set of "special skills" that won't surprise you as to who is her biological father. Hugh Jackman again delivers as a man who was made into something he didn't want to be. He's tortured and on a journey to find himself. If this is Jackman and Stewart's final performances as these characters, it's a wonderful send off.

Scott Frank, director James Mangold and Michel Green have constructed a screenplay that is more of an indie film character piece than a superhero epic. Don't get me wrong. There are still some awesome action set pieces and extremely violent ones. But the superhero stuff seemed real. Perhaps that is because of Mangold's direction. His film is lit naturally. Yeah, there is dramatic lighting but it doesn't depend on CGI. I'm talking to you, Batman v. Superman. Like Wolverine's adamantium bones, Logan is a contemporary road picture fused to a western, a film noir, and to finally to a superhero movie. And it works.

What makes Logan such a great film is that it's much more than a popcorn superhero movie. Like the original Star Trek TV series, it has something important to say. And one can only hope after the shallow Star Trek Beyond, that Paramount also makes a thoughtful Star Trek film. But I digress. As said before, Logan barely hides its pro-immigration theme. Yep, Laura is a Mexican, fleeing oppression and seeking sanctuary in the United States. And isn't that one of the main reasons for people to come to America. Meanwhile, on Logan and Charles' excellent adventure, they will learn the meaning to their lives. It's warm and heartfelt.

Logan is beautifully filmed, written and performed. It is one of the best films of the year. The grade is A.

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