Tuesday, July 4, 2017

No Country for Old Man Logan

When we started watching Logan (2017), we flashed on No Country - all that west Texas desert, but also Dusk to Dawn, especially the TV series. When Logan is crossing the border into Mexico, I was wondering if he was heading for the Twister.

It starts with Logan (Hugh Jackman) passed out drunk in the back of a limo - one that he is driving. It's parked behind a highway filling station, and some gangbangers are stealing the tires. When he complains that they are chipping the chrome off the lugnuts, they start to stomp him. You may be thinking, only 3 or 4 thugs vs the Wolverine - they are in for a world of hurt. And they are, but so is Logan. He is hurting, one of his claws won't extend, and it just isn't fun anymore.

So Logan is driving a hack, hustling money for medicine for Prof X, and dreaming about buying a boat to just sail away from it all. He has Prof X (Patrick Stewart) stashed in Mexico, being looked after by Brain Guy Observer Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Prof is old, and his mind is going. When he has a brainwave, everyone around is paralyzed, unable to breath until he comes out of it. The movie doesn't quite spell it out, but an "incident in Westchester" killed at least 7, probably his mutant students. Also, we keep hearing that there aren't any more mutants around. It's dark days.

A Hispanic woman (Elizabeth Rodriguez) tries to hire Logan to drive her and a little girl to North Dakota. He doesn't like the job, but the money would go to the boat, so... When he goes to pick them up, she's killed by a paramilitary force, and the kid is gone. Back in Mexico, he discovers that the kid has stowed away and the paras are on the trail. That's when we find out about the kid's special Wolveroid powers.

So Logan, Prof X and the kid go on a road trip. This part reminded me a little bit of Midnight Special, a recent indie - two adults who need to get a child with special powers to a place by a date. They stay in a casino hotel and the kid watches Shane with Prof X. They meet up with a decent, salt-of-the-earth black family, and Prof X gets to sleep in a nice bed, and, well, you know how this works out. Not as well as in Shane.

A word about the kid, played by Dafne Keen. She is awesome. Keen, the actress, was actually 11 years old when this was made, and full of everything awesome - attitude, badness, and kickassitivity. She is silent for much of the movie, which just adds to her mystique. If she is the future of the X-Men, good for them.

That future is pretty questionable, because we've seen in Days of Future Past and elsewhere, the future's not what it used to be. But this does seem to be the end of the road for Patrick Stewart as Xavier and Jackman as Wolverine.

This entry in the Marvel Universe was different - full of pain and sadness, aging and finality. There aren't a lot of heroes and villains, since most of the mutants are dead. Nobody wears costumes (except the bad guys, who are in full military drag). It's a serious movie, as well as a comic-book action movie. I don't want this in all of my comic-book movies, but we liked it in this one.

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