Archive for the ‘comics’ Category

[Warning—spoilers ahead] Logan (2017) launches into a genuine and abiding sadness, a sense of abandonment—what brought Charles Xavier so low, to this pitiable existence, confined to a collapsed water tower in the Mexican desert? Now that he is in need, where are all of his students? His beloved X-men? And all the other people he helped over the years? In his advanced age, Charles suffers a plight similar to that of so many real people every day. This predicament, at once quotidian and unprecedented (for the leader of the X-men), is something you don’t see in superhero movies. Charles, played once again and to amazing effect, by Patrick Stewart, continues as Earth’s most powerful telepath, yet suffers from a degenerative brain disease. The incredibly powerful (IMO) casino scene uses Charles’ mental illness to full effect.wolverine-story_647_102116025055

Hugh Jackman plays an aged, world-weary Wolverine who doesn’t heal as well as he used to, and who seems even more worn out on the inside than evidenced by his scarred body. Together, he and Charles clash in a surprisingly touching father-son dynamic. The mundane concept of a younger man caring for a mentally- and physically-declining loved one combines surprising well with the fantastic superhero aspects of the film. In one scene, Logan doggedly helps Charles use the bathroom despite Charles’ exasperation and humiliation. Despite its shortness, this scene and others like it (Charles opening his mouth wide and groaning mockingly to show Logan he swallowed his meds), without any special effects at all, make us wonder how these two came to such a pass, yet reinforce the durable relationship that survives between them despite a clearly difficult, if unknown, past.5 Logan Liver spots.png

Laura (X-23) is aptly played by Dafne Keen who transitions smoothly between scenes of horrific combat and moments of childlike innocence. In one scene, she takes on an almost maternal role, a juxtaposition of her and Logan as adult and child, when an exhausted, wounded Logan can’t drive anymore. Despite his fatigue, he refuses to let her drive. Laura pulls them over so he can sleep. Later, Logan sleeps with his head on her lap. She shifts him over, then switches to the driver’s seat so she can continue driving.

Despite its quieter aspects, the film doesn’t stint on action or effects. The near future is rendered smartly with cyborgs and autotrucks, the latter routine yet terrifyingly oblivious. Throughout its 137 minutes, the film delivers a visceral realism I haven’t seen in almost any other superhero film (Dredd (2012) would be an exception). The violence is screamingly intense, yet almost always believable without being over the top. Claws are used to full effect. People die—a  lot of them.Logan-X-23

Accompanying the riveting plot is an impressive music score. Not something I usually notice in a superhero film, the music ekes out even more adrenalin and should (if I were to have a say) win awards.

Interweaving of actual paper X-Men comics as a plot element within the film’s fictional reality—even a Wolverine action figure clutched by a mutant child—deliver the message we already know: Wolverine will live on.