Logan

The tenth installment of the blockbuster Marvel Comics’ X-Men film series since its debut in 2000, Logan is a superhero movie unlike any other by transcending formulaic conventions of the comic book genre to become a deeply emotional and serious drama about love and dying. Reprising his role for the ninth and likely final time, Hugh Jackman portrays Logan, often referred to as Wolverine, who is experiencing a great low point in his life and whose superpowers have increasingly diminished with age. Set in 2029, unexplained events have led to the practical extinction of mutants, people with genetic superpowers, and Logan is living a quiet, alcohol-fueled life as a chauffeur in El Paso. As a result of discrimination and attempted eradication from fearful non-mutants, the de facto leader of the X-Men Professor Charles Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart, lives hidden away just across the border in Mexico with an albino mutant, played by Stephen Merchant. Logan visits often to make sure Xavier, the only person he has really loved like family, gets his medication since he is suffering from a debilitating and dangerous illness onset by age. Eventually, they, along with a young mutant named Laura who possesses the same powers as Wolverine and is depicted terrifically by the newcomer actress Dafne Keen, are hunted down by a sinister organization led by its vicious chief of security, portrayed by Boyd Holbrook of Narcos fame. Unlike most comic book adaptations, the movie shows the characters in a more empathetic and vulnerable light as they are chased across the country in hopes of reaching a place called Eden across the border in Canada. The theme of crossing a border out of hope while eluding dangerous and prejudicial forces is especially potent nowadays with the divisive rhetoric over immigration and discrimination. The superheroes themselves show their humanity: Logan, previously shown as indestructible, clearly suffers physically and mentally after several violent fights, and he is greatly affected by the increasingly frail condition of his beloved father figure Xavier. Largely unseen in other superhero films, there is an emotional connection between the super powerful characters Logan, Xavier, and Laura; it is as if they are on a road trip as grandfather, son, and granddaughter in which they have bonding time. With its chase storyline set across sweeping landscapes and a clear struggle between good and evil in intimate battles, the film also feels heavily influenced by the Western genre. Clearly alluded to this fact is when Xavier and Laura watch the classic movie Shane and later a quote from the movie is used at a particularly poignant moment at the end. Overall, I found it to be a refreshing take on the rather stale and predictable comic book superhero film genre: the filmmaker is able to craft a beautiful story about extraordinary characters dealing with ordinary and raw human emotions. The movie takes a slow-paced and nuanced look at characters and plot lines that have been generically rehashed over the years and ultimately results in probably the best film ever adapted from a comic book.

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