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The film is over-long and the plot device involving the physical appearance of the actual comic books in the film didn't really work for me, but those are just two very minor points in a film that is largely enjoyable, totally engrossing popcorn movie with indie influence. Hugh Jackman is reprising his iconic character Wolverine for the last time in the film Logan. There's been tons of talk about the MPAA rating of this film and the influence last year's 'Deadpool' had on it. Wether you believe that film is the reason we got this or not, 'Logan' EARNED its R-rating way better.

The assertion, early in the film, that there have been no new mutants born for 25 years suggests a societal cleansing; a radio commentator gripes, "It's 2029, why are we still talking about mutants?"

Jackman confessed to getting tearful during the film's more tender scenes: one where he is piggy-backing Laura, a 10-year-old mutant with a smaller version of his claws, or the moments when he is caring for the afflicted, wheelchair-bound Professor X (Patrick Stewart). He bows out of the series with a considerable amount of class in James Mangold's Logan - a rather brilliant mesh of dystopian and superhero tropes that proves to be as entertaining as it is timely. If Ben Affleck's take on Batman in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice initially promised us the idea of an ageing Batman, robbed of his youthful abilities, then Logan actually delivers on it. If anything, the film eventually reveals a character (who I won't spoil here) who is a rebuke to that characterization of Wolverine. Constant redefinition may be more risky financially - you never quite know what you're going to get - but when it works, it can be attractive. "Perhaps it's just the novelty, but that explicit violence and salty language (Professor X turns out to be quite the potty-mouth as well) adds a bit of much-needed fizz to the Wolverine sub-franchise". Unlike Deadpool, though, Logan doesn't pull out these tricks for laughs or shock.

"I thought, "If I do one more, I have to do the movie that I've felt" and I didn't even know what that was but I just knew there was something within me that I wanted to do". Even more thrilling (however morbidly) are the scenes of Logan impaling a gang of Latinos just a few seconds after. If you've ever wondered what Wolverine's claws would look like piercing literally any part of the body, look no further.

Jackson has made it clear he doesn't intend to play the Wolverine again. And, man, is it some glorious stuff. She holds her own against vets Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart like a pro and successfully navigates away from the clichés that befall many a child actor. Boyd Holbrook continues to impress after a series of impressive and often unsettling performances in low-budget flicks like Little Accidents and A Walk Among the Tombstones.

Her name is Laura (great newcomer Dafne Keen) and she's quickly jettisoned into their lives.

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"She is a phenomenon", the 76-year-old star marveled.

While the film does try to set up an emotional denouement, it's impossible to get too deeply involved with the characters when one is a sociopath who cares for nearly no-one, and the other is mini-Wolverine who doesn't say a word until halfway through. It's very similar to Laura's, which might hint at Logan's willingness to help her out. Seriously, though, this kid kicks ass. Currently, Jackman has himself checked every three months for any sign of cancer.

But like all westerns, you can't leave the past behind, and when enough cash is dangled in front of his nose, Logan sees a way out and agrees to take the girl who, coincidentally, possesses the same mutant powers he does.

The first X-Men movie opened on July 14, 2000. Logan is good, it is occasionally great, but I would argue that it is about as good as we should expect these films to be as a matter of course.

There's a distinct lack of tights and an abundance of emotional grit in the excellent adventure (***½ out of four; rated R; in theaters March 3) directed and co-written by James Mangold (The Wolverine). This is how it's done. The MCU should take note.


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