Saturday, March 4, 2017

In Theatres: Logan (2017)

In the course of making "Logan", Hugh Jackman stated that this would be the last time he would play the feral, charismatic X-Man. Fittingly, then, "Logan" is a sort of passing of the torch to the next generation.

The year is 2029, or, 12 years into our future. James Howlett, aka Logan, aka Wolverine (Jackman) is now a limo driver for hire, and otherwise is one of two caretakers for nearly 100 year old Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), whose mental faculties, understandably, aren't what they once were due to advanced age, and not only that, but Xavier needs medication to avoid disruptive seizures. Caliban (Stephen Merchant) is Xavier's other aide. Those that don't know Caliban's story from the comics would now realize the reason why he prefers the darkness because of his albino skin.

Anyway, Logan reluctantly accepts an assignment to transport a Latina nurse and her patient, an 11 year old girl, to North Dakota. After delivering medication to Xavier, Logan discovers the nurse is dead, and the girl is being pursued by Donald Pierce, the head of security for a medical company responsible for developing a new generation of mutants for their own purposes. The girl, Laura, has Logan's DNA, making her his daughter. In the comics, she was known as X-23, and today, the grown-up Laura has inherited the Wolverine identity, since the Old Man Logan appearing in comics today comes from an alternate reality. Translation, the Wolverine we've known for more than 40 years was killed off some time ago.

Dafne Keen debuts as Laura, and the fact that she doesn't talk initially led me to suspect that the development of the character in the comics might've been in response to DC's attempt to create a new Batgirl with Cassandra Cain (now code-named Orphan) prior to the turn of the century. However, we do find that Laura can speak--she's bilingual, speaking English & Spanish---and the father-daughter chemistry slowly begins to build, leading to a climax that will mark the end of Jackman & Stewart's association with the X-franchise after 17 years.

The soundtrack includes a snippet of the late Jim Croce's "I've Got a Name", which leads off the trailer:

One of the other young mutants, Rictor, is actually a known commodity to long time fans, so including him as part of the X-project that Dr. Rice was running was just an example of the writers not finding anything appropriate to introduce the character. Another velcro dart of plot, if you will.

Speaking of trailers, the lineup includes "Ghost in the Shell", Scarlett Johannsen's latest, due at the end of the month, along with:

"The Circle": Emma Watson follows up "Beauty & the Beast" with this adaptation of a young adult novel. Tom Hanks co-stars.

"Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2" (May): Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, & Baby Groot return. Rocket, oh, by the way, currently is appearing in the daily Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip. Anyone wanna bet the rest of the Guardians could show up before that story arc ends?

"War For The Planet of The Apes" (July). Well, you knew that was coming, didn't you?

"Dunkirk": Christopher Nolan's latest.

"The Fate of The Furious": Kurt Russell joins the ever growing ensemble with Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, & Michele Rodriguez.

"Life": Jake Gyllenhall & Ryan Reynolds star in a sci-fi thriller that looks like a clone of a certain franchise. Speaking of which:

"Alien: Covenant": Said franchise returns, with director Ridley Scott.

Rating: A-.

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