Logan is a heavy movie. Most so-called super hero movies are not. Many have dramatic themes but they’re still effects-filled fantasies that focus more on action than story or characters. They also try to be at least a little bit fun. The key word there is “try.”
The R-rated Logan doesn’t.
It is gut-busting intense and maybe the best — if we have to define it as such — super hero movie of them all. But one reason may be because it’s not actually about the super powers as much as it is about the curse of having super powers.
In this case the super powers are those of the X-Men mutants.
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Set in the near future, Hugh Jackman’s Logan (Wolverine) and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier (Professor X) are outcasts. Logan owns a limo service. He cares for Xavier because the good professor is in ill-health and exhibiting signs of dementia. In his case, that means earthshaking and quaking episodes that require him to be hidden away in a remote location.
Then a girl shows up. She’s a mutant, has identical claws to Wolverine and is on the run from the scientists from a top-secret lab. They created her and other, mutant children. Once the experiments with them were over they were to be killed.
The girl and others escaped and are trying to get to a safe haven called Eden. Xavier thinks she’s Logan’s daughter and they should help. A reluctant Logan is forced to when an army of mercenaries shows up.
Logan, Xavier and the girl escape, and from there, it’s a chase movie wrapped around an original plot co-written by director James Mangold (Walk the Line) and one of my favorite screenwriters Scott Frank (The Wolverine, Minority Report, Walk Among the Tombstones).
Themes of aging and dying, and coming to terms with both, penetrate difficult and deep dialogue. It gives Jackman and Stewart room to stretch and show off their exceptional acting skills.
Typical of most well-done chase movies, Logan keeps you riveted to your seat, and for once — and I’m not really giving anything away — a super hero movie doesn’t end with a city or a planet being devastated by super heroes run amok.
That alone makes Logan one of the genre’s best ever.
Let’s Go to the Movies class
Learn how to review movies at a Let’s Go to the Movies class with the Herald’s movie reviewer, Gary Wolcott.
You will start by watching the live-action Beauty and the Beast at noon March 18. Afterward, you will reconvene at the Kamiakin High School library, 600 N. Arthur St., Kennewick, where Mr. Movie will compare the live version to Diseny’s classic animation. Cost is $21.
For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/Mr_Movie_March18.
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E. Grant
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for violence, mature themes. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s, and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.