Why all the kudos for ‘Logan?’

The first time I saw Logan, I was appalled by the violence and turned off by the story. I decided to give it another chance, see it a second time to see if I had the same reaction. So several weeks later, I went back.

Nope, same response. I don’t understand all the praise given to this nihilistically grim film.

Okay, before I get mugged by the fans, let me say I collected X-Men comics until the costs started to significantly cut into my income. I enjoyed the other X-Men films. I have seen the movie Unforgiven which was said to be an inspiration for this. I know people will say, “It’s just a comic book movie miniseries “Old Man Logan” so who cares about the death count?”

Logan is a very well done film, made with a sense of modern realism that makes its brutality more believable. It’s a road movie with bullet-riddled transport and a death mark on every character.

The plot is based on the need for Laura (Dafne Keen), Logan’s clone via the bad guys genetic manipulation, to get to a place called Eden, an alleged refuge for mutants. Her nurse tries to get Logan (Hugh Jackman), formerly an X-Man called Wolverine now a used-up limo driver, to take her there. Logan rejects the job but circumstances force him take it.

So what makes Logan difficult to watch?

Maybe it’s a lack of hope that permeates every digital second of film.

There is only one hero in Logan — Logan himself. He struggles against a merciless, grim world to take the elderly Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to a permanent refuge.

That’s the most powerful relationship in the movie and the source of its greatest tragedy. Xavier, the most powerful mutant on Earth, has now been reduced to a resentful senior citizen who hates the pills that deaden his powers but controls the destructive seizures which destroys the world around him. It’s Logan’s love – and hate – that keeps him with Xavier.

It’s that duty that keeps Logan alive.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help keep anyone else alive. The body count would rival a battle, and all the deaths are personalized. Logan slashes and stabs his way through most of them, spurting blood along the way.

The nurse who helps Laura escape is murdered. The normal family who gives an escaping Logan, Xavier and Laura a meal are murdered. The store clerk who almost gets gutted by Laura, is then tortured (and probably murdered) shortly after by bad guy Piece (Boyd Holbrook). Logan’s fellow mutant Caliban, (Stephen Merchant) the voice of reason, blows himself up. Xavier dies (non-heroically). Logan dies. Only Laura, a survivor like her “father,” lives to go with her fellow young mutants to Eden.

Both times I saw Logan the audience left silently, not a single positive comment or a smile. I can’t imagine why some parents brought their 8 year olds. What were they thinking? Maybe that Logan was just a comic book movie with meaningless CGI deaths?

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