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Mace & Crown | March 23, 2017

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Marvel Unleashed: 'Logan'

Ross Reelachart | Technology Editor

There is room in my heart for many different kinds of stories, told in many different kinds of ways. The supposed final Wolverine movie, “Logan,” just so happens to take the form of one of those favorites. It’s a small, personal and highly character-centric narrative with a similarly small cast that’s flavored with fantastical elements. In this case, it’s a story about Logan’s legacy, his memory, his history and possibly his future. Focusing on one consistent character, “Logan” turns out to be possibly the best X-Men movie, and possibly one of the best superhero movies.

Set in an all-too-real, near-dystopic future of 2029, mutant-kind is all but completely extinct. The X-Men exist only in pulpy comic books, giant corporations rule and the infamous wall between the U.S. and Mexico has been built. Seemingly, the only remaining mutants and characters from the X-men movies are Logan (Hugh Jackman), Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and the mutant-sniffing albino Caliban (Stephen Merchant).

Holed-up in a rundown factory just south of the border, Logan has been reduced to a drunken, sickly limo driver, trying to scrape together the money to buy a boat for him and Xavier to sail out onto the ocean and be alone before they both pass. But even this tragic, simple goal is thrown into disarray when a young girl appears in their lives, testing what is left of their heroism and beliefs.

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

“Logan” makes reference to the X-Men having existed at some point, and presumably having done some superhero-ing in the process, but the movie doesn’t care about them. What it does care about is the aftermath and what that life did to Logan and Xavier. It posits a world where they lost, and now they’re just trying to survive.

So, we’re left with a story that gives ample time to watching how Logan “lives” and how he and Xavier interact. Their relationship is strained and filled with an unspoken history of actions and words. Jackman and Stewart’s performances sell this hard life lived with wonderful subtlety and emotion.

While Logan and Xavier struggling to find themselves would have probably been enough to make the movie noteworthy, “Logan” truly wins by the inclusion of Laura (Dafne Keen). It can’t be stressed enough how good this young woman is as a little girl with the same powers and ferocity as Wolverine. She spends most of the movie without uttering a word and sells her character completely on physical acting and facial expressions.

Keen does an amazing job of conveying the thoughts and emotions in her head at any moment. Yet, she still has the energy and intensity to be the best presence in every action scene she’s involved in. This girl is the meanest, most badass animal in this movie, effortlessly transitioning between two states. One moment, she’s an adorable and innocent little girl looking for a family, and the next she’s a whirling tornado of stabbing and screaming.

If this was the last X-Men or X-Men-related movie ever, I’d be totally fine with that. In fact, I would actually kind of prefer it. “Logan” is an undisputed high note for the X-Men franchise, for superhero films and just for movies in general. It asks us what the legacy of a character is and what we can take away from that.

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