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Reviewed by Alan J. Porter, @AlanJPorter, © 2017

Format: Movie
By:   James Mangold (director)
Genre:   Wolverine!
Review Date:   February 19, 2017
RevSF Rating:   9/10 (What Is This?)

From the opening chords of the Johnny Cash version of “Hurt” that played over the first trailer for Logan, we knew that this was going to be a different take on everyone\'s favorite adamantium laced Canadian scrapper. After seventeen years and eight previous outings we finally get to see the Wolverine that we\'ve always deserved. Unleashed from the constraints of a PG-13 rating and the now familiar, and often tired, tropes of the superhero movie formula, Logan brilliantly engages and challenges preconceptions of the impact that powered individuals have on the world they inhabit.

There\'s no spandex here; no triumphant musical cues as the hero overcomes adversity, no larger than life villain to overcome. As that first trailer promised, this is a world of hurt.

The movie is set in a not too distant future where no new mutants have been born for twenty years. Due to some unspecified event, Professor Xavier is now America\'s most wanted, and is being hidden and protected by Logan, and the mutant tracker Caliban. Xavier, the world\'s most powerful mind, is suffering from a degenerative condition that means he needs to be kept sedated. All they want to do is hide, scramble to earn and save money so they can get a boat and sail away from people and trouble. But trouble won\'t leave them alone, when a young girl with familiar abilities and a feral attitude turns up being pursued by a gang of cyborg enhanced mercenaries.

What follows is a dark, intense, grim, and violent road trip across the American landscape that examines the consequences of violence. It is a dark fable of the difference between comic book fantasy and reality. In may ways Logan is the modern Western written large, an influence it acknowledges and references within the movie itself.

But is so much more. It\'s an emotional reflection on aging, loss of control, mortality, and the passing of family. It\'s also moments of discovery, friendship, and sacrifice.

None of this would have been possible with the great chemistry of the three main leads. The respect, banter, and deep friendship between Hugh Jackman\'s Logan, and Patrick Stewart\'s Charles Xavier plays off the cues developed in the earlier films and extrapolates it to new levels of interchange between the two. It\'s interesting to observe that as Stewart gets older and the parts he plays less physical, that his already outstanding acting ability continues to delver new levels of commitment and range.

A real standout is newcomer Dafne Keen as the young girl. She holds her own alongside her established fellow leads, and at times drives the movies narrative and emotional through line just through body language and facial expression alone.

Logan feels like this is the movie that Jackman always wanted to make. It does edge close to some of those standard superhero tropes at times, but then veers away through some brave story telling choices. There\'s a lot going one here, but it doesn't insult your intelligence by smacking you in the face with expository explanations. Listen carefully and you get the idea of why things are happening and why the world and the characters in it are where they are. I
It\'s a very well made movie that compels you to become involved.

As other reviewers have said, it is by far the best of the Wolverine solo movies, and I would say it\'s the best X-Men movie, and has a good argument to be considered among the top echelon of superhero movies.

Alan J. Porter writes about stuff, and make up stories too. Pop culture, comics, high-adventure fiction, movies, music, business content strategy, and more.

He has written adventures featuring Sherlock Holmes, Allan Quatermain, Houdini, and private eye Rick Ruby; as well as his own New Pulp adventurers, The Raven and The Lotus Ronin.

His pop-culture non-fiction work has featured properties such as Batman, Star Trek, The Beatles, G.I. Joe, and James Bond.

He has also written comics for Tokyopop, BOOM Studios, Marvel, Disney, and Kid Domino.

Find him at on AlanJPorter.com and @AlanJPorter.

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