‘Logan’ review: Hugh Jackman goes out on top in final turn as Wolverine

Logan

The world finally has an R-rated version of Wolverine that does everything right.

If you love Wolverine, then you should run out to see Hugh Jackman’s final turn with the character in Logan. It’s a smart film that doesn’t skimp on action, it’s filled with heart, and the performances by Mr. Jackman and Patrick Stewart as Professor X are top notch.

There is much to say about this movie, but instead of doing up two different reviews I think I’ll just share a portion of what I wrote for Conservative Book Club and then ask  you to kindly check them out for the full version.

I wrote shortly after the film’s release:

The world has seen Hugh Jackman play the Marvel superhero Wolverine for 17 years, but it appears as though the actor saved his best performance for last. Director James Mangold’s R-rated Logan hauled in $247.3 globally its opening weekend, and for good reason — it’s a superhero movie that transcends the genre.

What is perhaps the most fascinating about Logan is that while it is chalk full violent deaths, underneath the blood and gore is a film that promotes selfless sacrifice, unconditional love, loyalty, family, and the possibility of redemption for all men — no matter how fallible they may be. Bad characters die, but the film’s message on many levels can be considered “pro-life.” Good samaritans risk everything for children who are treated as expendable tools, while the life an elderly and infirm man is fiercely protected by the protagonist.

Logan (story by Mangold, screenplay by Scott Frank) takes place in a future where all of the X-Men in the 20th Century Fox franchise are dead — wiped out in large part due to the decaying mind of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). Wolverine and an ally named Caliban (Stephen Merchant) have been driven underground along the U.S. border with Mexico, although the hero is able make enough cash to get Charles seizure medication by working nights as a limo driver.

Everything changes for the trio when a nurse smuggles a genetically engineered child known as X-23 (Dafne Keen) out of captivity before she can be killed by the villain Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Her goal is to transport the girl a rally point in North Dakota where children with similar capabilities will attempt to cross the border into Canada. Logan, with his failing immune system and broken body, is coerced into the quest by Charles and the surviving shards of virtue buried deep within his own adamantium bones.

“You know, Logan, this is what life looks like: a home, people who love each other, a safe place. You should take a moment and feel it,” Xavier says when they are eventually given food and shelter by a family of farmers.

“Yeah, it’s great,” the reluctant hero sarcastically replies.

“Logan! You still have time,” Xavier implores.

Check out the rest over at CBC.

 

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‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’: I can’t buy a ticket with Bryan Singer accused of rape

Bryan Singer

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ will be out May 23, but now that director Bryan Singer has been accused of rape, what’s a movie watcher to do?

The Associated Press reported:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who claims he was sexually abused by “X-Men” franchise director Bryan Singer said Thursday that he reported the molestation to authorities at the time, and he does not know why charges were never pursued.

With his voice occasionally wavering, Michael Egan III described abuse he said began when he was 15 years old at the hands of Singer and others. He told of being plied with drugs and promises of Hollywood fame while also enduring threats and sexual abuse in Hawaii and Los Angeles over several years.

“You were a piece of meat,” Egan said of how he and other teenage boys were viewed at the home where he claims Singer abused him.

Signer’s attorney Marty Singer wrote in a statement after Egan’s remarks that the accusations were “completely fabricated.”

But are they? That’s the big question. In terms of the pool parties Mr. Egan says he attended, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is a.) disputing that they existed, or b.) that “Hollywood power broker” Mark Rector-Collins (who was jailed in 2004 for sex abuse of minors) also attended them. Bryan Singer’s attorney called the accusations “completely without merit” — and that may be true — but there seems to be enough there to warrant a serious investigation.

The Daily Mail reported:

I wouldn’t say it was a relationship [with Singer], you were a piece of meat,’ Egan said of how he was treated at the parties at Rector Collins’ home that he allegedly began attending when he was just 14 or 15.

He said: ‘Certain situations like at the house where the rules were no swimsuits by the pool areas. I was in the hot tub with Singer and other individuals, they grope you, shove your head under water, orally molest you, then they’d rape you by the side of hot tub. You were a piece of meat.’

He claimed the men regularly threatened to ruin his acting dreams if he didn’t comply with their demands.

‘We were told that we had to keep the members happy – “We control Hollywood and we will eliminate you” – there was threat after threat,’ Egan told reporters.

I was really excited about going to see the new X-Men movie, but now I’m conflicted. Do I want to spend money on a director’s project while he’s battling allegations that, if true, would further vindicate everything said about Hollywood’s evil little secret by Corey Feldman? It may be wrong, but I keep thinking of inappropriate wise-cracks like “X-Men: Days of Future Past … Molestation.” When Patrick Stewart asks if we are “destined to destroy ourselves” in the trailer, I now wonder if Bryan Singer destroyed a young boy’s life.

How could I sit through a movie when the entire time I’m wondering if Bryan Singer is just a new version of Roman Polanski? Will Whoopi Goldberg one day say that Bryan Singer didn’t “rape-rape Mr. Egan? Again, Mr. Singer is innocent until proven guilty, but I can’t stop my mind from wandering to such places. That doesn’t bode will for my decision to see his latest offering.

Michael Egan

Right about now some of my regular readers are probably thinking that it’s incredibly rich for the Catholic guy to be asking these questions. Well no, not really. I was distanced from the Catholic Church in many ways for years because of the priest scandals and cover-ups. I didn’t donate any money to the Catholic Church for a long time because I didn’t want what little income I had going to defend the indefensible. It took a very, very long time for me to find my way back to the Church (and guys like Pope Francis make it a heck of a lot easier).

Regardless, the New York Daily News seems to think I’m in the minority:

Industry insiders say they think few movie-goers will associate the scandal with one of the biggest popcorn flicks of the summer when it’s time to buy tickets.

“In the end, the question becomes how much of the American public is ‘auteur-ist’ enough to associate a movie with its director,” says Prof. Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center of Television & Popular Culture.

“Is the alleged bad behavior enough to keep them from seeing the next installment of ‘X-Men’? And I think for most people that’s very much not the case.”

I’m not “auteur-ist,” New York Daily News staff, I’m just a guy who actually has a working moral compass. I would think that anyone who believes in right and wrong would be turning these sorts of issues around in their head before coughing up cash. I’m not saying they have to pull their hair out in the process, but it’s hard not to look into the details that have already been presented and wonder what the heck is going on in Hollywood.

Take the pool parties, for instance. Is a Bryan Singer pool party like something from the Playboy Bunny Ranch, except for gay men? (A friend of mine retorted: “You mean like the Gayboy Bunny Ranch”?) Drugs, booze, nudity and music all night long — what could go wrong?

I think that I would be less inclined to stay away from the movie if I felt as though Hollywood actually had a working moral compass. Hollywood embraces hedonism, so when murky issues like this come up it seems as though it’s best to err on the side of caution.

While all of us have our moral failings, at least your Average Joe knows right from wrong. Hollywood doesn’t care what you do — as long as it feels good and you don’t get caught. Sadly, sometimes getting caught can even make you more famous…

 

Bryan Singer Pool Party

As much as I wanted to see ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ I just don’t know I can do so with such a massive storm cloud hanging over the director’s head (no pun intended). The only way I could possibly see it now would be if I bought a ticket to ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ or another movie and then walked into a theater playing X-Men.

What about you? Will you be seeing Bryan Singer’s latest when it hits theaters May 23? I’d like to hear what you think.

Editor’s Note: I will swiftly hit the delete button and ban anyone who is out of line in the comments section. If you aren’t sure if what you’re about to say will get you banned, don’t say it. Rule of thumb: If you worked for a major newspaper and your editor would blow a gasket at the comment, then don’t post it here.