Logan

Logan ★★★★

Why are we still talking about mutants?

Logan is a movie whose contradictions are its strengths. It cuts its pulpy, gushing violence with a stunning amount of empathy and moral clarity. Though it's probably the most melancholic superhero blockbuster ever, it rarely veers into maudlin or dour territory because it has a cracking sense of humor and breathtaking, pulse-pounding set pieces. Mangold is not afraid of fan service (only a fan could make a meta-textual curtain call for Jackman and Stewart in these roles resonate with so much genuine feeling) and that's because he truly understands these characters not just as comic heroes but as emotionally and physically frail people. It stutters a bit in the third act, where I think the movie is missing about 30 good minutes of Logan and Laura bonding time or perhaps getting to know the kids who, along with Laura, take over the movie's back half. But that doesn't keep the finale from hitting the mark beautifully.

Speaking of Laura, Keen is just as sensational as Jackman, delivering her entire performance non-verbally until she explodes onto the screen when the movie shifts its focus to her rising arc. Stewart is the standout to me: he gives the movie so much pathos, so much ethos and I think really gives the material that magic touch. For those who have forgotten, this franchise started 20 years ago with Charles and Logan, and it's just so right that the professor should be here as the saga comes to its resounding finish. I don't think it's perfect, but it's damn good and perfectly satisfying.

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