• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - 'Logan' a surprising movie

Yes, there's a target-rich environment in Washington, D.C., but I'd rather write about a good movie I just saw. More than one critic has said of "Logan," which hit theaters last Friday, that it is not only a good comic book movie, but a good movie, period. I agree. In fact, I'll say that it is a very good movie. I watched it during Saturday's UK game, heretical as that may seem to members of the Big Blue Nation. I figured so many members of said Nation would be watching the game that I'd be able to choose my seat and might even have an empty one between me and one of those comic book geeks. But I digress. In a time when computer generated graphics and $100 million-plus budgets have made eye-popping spectacles a dime a dozen, "Logan" is much less, and much more. Yes, it's about a mutant with advanced healing powers and adamantium claws, his ailing mentor and father figure, and a young girl whose cause Logan (Hugh Jackman) reluctantly accepts. Yes, there are great chase and action scenes. And yes, the scenes of violence in this R-rated film are intense - but, in the opinion of this non-professional movie critic, they are earned, as are the occasional bursts of bad language from Logan and Professor Charles Xavier. You'd say such things, too, if you'd been through what they have. Turns out the metal Logan's skeleton was laced with is poisoning him. Where once, a few bullets or seemingly mortal blade wound were merely things that hurt badly but walked away from within seconds, they now leave scars and worse. Logan, aka Wolverine, walks with a limp and has a cough that suggests something far worse than walking pneumonia. Just as troubling, the telepathic leader of the now-gone X-Men, Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart), is afflicted with a dementia-like condition. Logan spends his evenings driving frat boys and bachelorettes around in a limousine, using the money he makes to buy medicine to control the professor's symptoms and the psychic fits that endanger all those around him. Both Logan and Charles are losing the abilities that made them superheroes. Of course, they are soon threatened by seemingly government-sanctioned forces that want the young girl, played by an extraordinary 11-year-old (Dafne Keen), back. Prestonsburg native Boyd Holbrook is effective as a bad guy who admits that he's a Wolverine fan, yet doesn't hesitate to brutalize his hero. But ... That's just the plot. The grim story is leavened with moments of humor. It is a road trip movie, an action movie and an odd couple-type buddy movie, with an immigration-related subplot that has special resonance today. Logan carries the weight of the lives he's taken and the loves he's lost, and he warns the child that even when the people she kills are bad people, there's a cost. In the 1992 movie "Unforgiven," a young man sick over his first killing tells Clint Eastwood's character, "I guess they had it coming." Eastwood's character replies, "We all got it coming, kid." Like "Unforgiven," "Logan" is a dark meditation on its genre, and if it's not as good as that Academy-award winning movie, it's the best film of its kind since "The Dark Knight." In the end, "Logan" isn't about superhero exploits, though there are those. It's about loss, regret, courage, family, sacrifice, and love. And that final scene ... and the one before it ... and the people shuffling out of the theater with allergies.

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