Movie Review: Logan

If the filmmakers decide just to go with the name of the character in the title, it usually means one of three things. One, it’s a biopic. Two, it’s a franchise-type character or at least the original character in a well-known book. Or three, they got together, attempted valiantly to come up with a title that is both evocative and instructive, and failed, so they kept the most obvious. In “Logan’s” case, it tells the viewer that the subject is Logan a.k.a. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) although much screen time is also given to his young daughter (Dafne Keen).

“What the fuck?” is Hugh’s opening line. As “Risky Business” taught us in the eighties, this is sometimes necessary to say, and boy, is it ever here. When you wake up on the floorbed of a truck apparently having been knocked unconscious and kidnapped, it is indeed appropriate. Luckily, his captors choose to remove and threaten him in a late night abandoned junkyard place, which is violating one of the cardinal Movie Rules. Thus the viewer will not be surprised to learn that even outnumbered and with no mysterious handyman figure showing up to save him, Hugh manages to get away. He then heads for his hideout near the Mexican border where his terminally ill mentor (Patrick Stewart) and his helpmate (Stephen Merchant) are living. Neither is real happy to see him, but then Hugh gets even worse news when a woman accosts him and insists that he save her child (Dafne) by bringing her to the Canadian border. But the real kicker is that Patrick claims the kid is his, and Hugh, still relying on a Hulk-changing green liquid to do battle, is in deep denial. A reasonable person might wind up pointing out that the girl has freaking retractable claws for hands and Ninja moves that would put Mr. Miyagi to shame, who the heck does he think the alternative is – Edward Scissorhands? But everyone is patient while Hugh takes the rest of the movie to acknowledge this. It’s a long trip to North Dakota, but in many ways, the inner trip will take longer.

The movie takes place in the near future – a world in which it’s believed all the mutants have been eradicated, but eventually, we learn that an evil scientist has been concocting designer killing machines in his lab (from where Dafne’s guardian smuggles her out). A sinister figure with the telltale Gold Tooth of Untrustworthiness (Boyd Holbrook) is on the trail of Dafne and her fellow subjects, all of whom possess formidable superpowers (ice breath, telekinesis, etc.), so it’s necessary for Hugh to do some fancy footwork. Somehow, although there are only barbed wire top enclosures to ram through down South to make a getaway with his two passengers, Hugh doesn’t manage to evade the bad guys until the final showdown in a forest. Several key franchise figures don’t make it to the credits, but as the movie shows, there’s always the next generation to pin one’s hopes on. Certainly, if Dafne retains her interest in acting, she could easily be the focus of a sequel.

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