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Logan Movie Review

Logan Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD cover art
Logan is now available on home video. Read our review of the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack.

Logan (2017) movie poster Logan

Theatrical Release: March 3, 2017 / Running Time: 145 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: James Mangold / Writers: James Mangold (story & screenplay); Scott Frank, Michael Green (screenplay)

Cast: Hugh Jackman (Logan, X-24), Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier), Dafne Keen (Laura), Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gabriela), Richard E. Grant (Dr. Zander Rice), Eriq La Salle (Will Munson), Elise Neal (Kathryn Munson), Quincy Fouse (Nate Munson)

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For the ninth time in seventeen years, Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine, but Logan is not much like past X-Men movies, nor even the two standalone films built around the iconic, retractably-clawed character.
This one is rated R, a fact made clear immediately in an opening scene laced with profanity and violence in which Wolverine stands up to and attacks a bunch of gangbangers trying to jack a car.

It is 2029 and Wolverine is no longer the young buck he long was. He sports gray hair, a salt and pepper full beard, and a weariness for the world. When he's not driving a limousine along the US-Mexican border, Logan is helping sun-allergic Caliban (Stephen Merchant) take care of a sometimes senile nonagenarian Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).

People at cross purposes are looking for Logan. On one side is Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook), a corporation's head of security with a metal hand and malice in his heart. On the other side is Gabriela (Elizabeth Rodriguez), a woman who is willing to pay Logan big for a long-distance ride. Gabriela isn't important, but Laura (Dafne Keen), the silent girl she claims is his daughter, proves to be.

A bloodied Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) clutches to his fierce daughter Laura (Dafne Keen) in "Logan."

Laura is part of a program of genetically-engineered mutants held in captivity and deprived of normal childhood. Bred from Wolverine's DNA, she exhibits the same virtual invincibility, ferocity, and knuckle blades. She, Logan, and Xavier hit the road to avoid the danger pursuing them. They end up watching Shane in a Las Vegas hotel, spending a night with a friendly black country family they helped on a highway, and then journeying to the potentially mythic place where Gabriela insisted that Laura be delivered.

Logan is a dark, angry, and bloody film. If it was coming right after X-Men: The Last Stand, it would be a stunning change of pace. But things began heading in this direction on 2013's The Wolverine in which director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) assumed the helm. Mangold remains in the director's chair this time and no doubt the immense commercial and critical success of the hard R-rated Deadpool a year ago has encouraged Fox to go darker and more violent than the franchise has ever been.

This is a good thing, not because movies today need to be darker and more violent, but because there's no reason that the "superhero movie" genre must conjure either Marvel's tried and true snarky but relatively family-friendly hijinks or DC's less confident, monochromatic, and even more bombastic action. Logan is something you're not even sure can be called a superhero movie. The title isn't the result of running out of ways to incorporate the name Wolverine. This is an older, more vulnerable character who doesn't strike us as especially super. He's on the side of good, but he's got a temper and isn't above jamming his claws into someone else's head or beheading a jerk with a gun.

Logan (Hugh Jackman) gets out his blades in a confrontation with Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).

Where else were Jackman, Mangold, and Fox going to go with this character? He's had adventures and battles set in most of the past six decades. He's fought alongside characters portrayed by different actors at different ages. He's been all over the world from Canada to Tokyo. He even got to drop the F-bomb in a brief cameo. This time around, we're seeing what late life looks like for superheroes. It's a depressing existence that hasn't really been shown or even considered before. It's kind of like if Francis Ford Coppola had made an entire movie around the final scene of The Godfather Part III befitting his preferred title The Death of Michael Corleone.

The appeal to Logan may be more artistic than commercial. The previous two standalone Wolverine movies were a much smaller draw than the original X-Men trilogy was and X-Men: Apocalypse's ho-hum numbers last summer suggest audiences have even tired of the second generation of the mutants. Jackman took a pay cut to ensure his final movie in this role would be rated R.
If anyone out there is assuming that Deadpool succeeded only because it was rated R, they are mistaking correlation for causation. The grimmer, more brutal approach could hook those who were driven away by X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine and have tired of the spritely main X-Men series. But this remains something of a tough sell, off-limits to the young teenage boys who might otherwise pay to see such a thing.

It is no spoiler to call Logan the end of an era and a farewell to one of cinema's most reprised characters. Mangold and his two fellow credited screenwriters (TV-seasoned and rising in film Michael Green, The Wolverine's Scott Frank) have given this hero a distinct and original send-off. And while few can claim they're not ready to say goodbye to Logan and mean it, we're probably just a few years away from Fox rebooting the character with a younger, less accomplished actor taking over the role.

Save yourself several minutes: there is nothing after the long end credits scroll of Logan.

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Reviewed February 17, 2017.

Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2017 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, Kinberg Genre, Hutch Parker, and The Donners' Company.
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