Logan

Logan ★★★★★

“Joey, there’s no living with, with a killing. There’s no going back from it. Right or wrong, it’s a brand, a brand that sticks. There’s no going back. Now you run on home to your mother and tell her, tell her everything’s alright, and there aren’t any more guns in the valley”

Logan’s interpretation of the principles behind that iconic final speech from Shane (a movie James Mangold unabashedly draws attention from) is perhaps its engine, the driving force behind its bittersweet endearment. Whereas most morally gray stories target their central character’s ambiguity as the one and only source of messaging — the cliche of “not being afraid to get your hands dirty” comes to mind — Logan runs with the persistence of such depravity, and allows it to seamlessly seep into the narrative. Attention is never brought to how brutal and often belligerent Logan’s ways constantly are; instead of walking hand-in-hand with the audience and explaining why our occasionally smarmy hero is now a limping, wheezing killing machine, we’re instead given baptism by fire within the first couple minutes of the film’s opening.

Rather than sticking with superficial vigilant themes, we’re faced head on (and at times hit right in the gut) with the misery of such a disconnect from scruples about violence. We’re not meant to derive sorrow from Logan (and Charles, both of whom signify the last of the mutants) being so far outside society — it’s his weary, beaten, and defeated attitude about it that creates such heartache. He hits it on the head when he says that he didn’t ask for this, and that bad things happen to the people he loves. At the point this is emitted, his world is absolutely shattered; to say he lacks an aim just isn’t enough. The little purpose he believed he had left has been viciously destroyed, and his sensitivity, which we’d already seen to be dwindling, is completely gone: whereas he was prickly early on about the subject of the adamantium bullet and the intents he had for it, he openly talks about his contemplations on just blowing his brains out and getting it all over with, and in the presence of a child, as well.

The apathy and hopelessness Logan steadily stumbles into (right alongside his health) is difficult to watch, but his mannerisms — never outright aware of his imminent mortality until the moment it arrives — are tragically engrossing. I was afraid that as what very well might be my favorite film, this wouldn’t hold up; by the time The Man Comes Around played its sorrowful chords, however, and my heart was in my throat with my emotions shattered, that fear had evaporated. 

“Laura…” he breathes, dying with his heart in his hands, just as he was told would happen so many years ago. “So...this is what it feels like.” The unkillable X-Man who has witnessed everyone around him die brutal deaths, finally being granted his peace. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

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