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‘Logan’ and the death of a friend

Julia Zaksek, Jr. managing editor

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Although everything I wear and decorate my room with bears the resemblance of some superhero, my infatuation, and often obsession, with spandex-clad vigilantes began with an old cartoon, X-Men. One cheesy, brightly colored episode, and at age 10 I was madly in love with one grumpy, jumpsuit-wearing hero: Logan, aka the Wolverine. Today I, too, have shifted my interests to the more expansive and detailed Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially the escapades of Steve Rogers. However, the character of Logan, brought to painful and profound life by Hugh Jackman, still holds a special place in my obsessive heart.

“Logan” is just what the title promises. It’s not an action driven, adrenaline rushing, plot twisting film; it’s a study of character. The character of Logan, not the Wolverine, and not the unofficial leader of the X-Men. Logan is tired, graying and drinking from whatever questionable-looking flask he can find. But more importantly, he is dying.

James Mangold has directed earlier Wolverine films, like the 2015 “The Wolverine,” but this one feels right and true to the Wolverine of the comics. It’s a western style, neo-noir film, gritty and disturbing. The decision to give the film a R rating and the ensuing violence gave the production a realism and weight that is difficult to create in a comic-book based movie, or any film based on the adventures of adults wearing tights.

“Logan” is a film reflective of the times we live in. It’s a dismal future in 2029, with big corporations taking over everything, rampant crime, struggles at the border and the disappearance of mutants and heroes.

 

Logan’s struggle to accept this new and lonely world, to accept failure and the flaws in his own character is the soul of this film. And struggle he does. Logan’s last battle isn’t to fix the path the righteous strayed from, or even to build one for the heroes of the future. His final campaign is to find peace, in a world in flames around him, in the face of what he sees as failure.

“Logan” stretches the boundaries and conventions of modern superhero movies. Its honest depiction of not a superhero, but a man weary and lost in an indifferent world, gives it power and relevance. Hugh Jackman’s last donning of the adamantium claws as a man tired of having them is a fitting tribute and eulogy for a character so loved for almost 20 years. I give “Logan” a well deserved A.

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