Logan ★★★★★

Watched as part of the July 2018 Letterboxd Scavenger Hunt
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31. To wrap up this month on a traditionally narcissistic note, watch any film rated 4.5 or 5 stars by yours truly :-)

My disdain for superhero movies is a matter of public record at this point; but I had heard such weird things about Logan when it first came out -- that it was a hard-R rating, that it took place in an apocalyptic future, that it was a movie quite literally about The Death Of Superheroes -- that since then I've always been curious about it in a way I'm not usually curious about superhero flicks, and thought it would make a fine choice once I realized it was an option for this particular scavenger hunt task. And indeed, it was in fact a great choice; not your usual Marvel punchfest but rather a grim yet thoughtful tale about mortality, it's exactly the kind of superhero film for people like me who don't usually like superhero films, super-dark and super-bleak and not a single Robert Downey Junior running around winking so hard at the camera that his eyes are about to pop out of his head.

Based off a one-off "what if" comic by Mike Millar, the saving grace of this story is precisely that it doesn't have to worry about adhering to a messily complicated canon that already exists, nor about fitting into a grand trillion-dollar scheme that a movie studio has laid out for a 20-film "cinematic universe;" that lets the script be basically as dark and fatalistic as it wants to be (and it really wants to be, believe me), picturing a grim-as-fuck future when an Alzheimer-suffering Professor X has accidentally brought about what is almost the end of the world, because of his mental illness no longer allowing him to rationally control his overwhelming superpowers. This has led to an angry public essentially murdering almost all the previous superheroes who existed, besides a fatally bitter Wolverine who still feels obliged to hide and nurse the professor, despite not having a compelling reason to go on living and also despite a growing illness that is looking more and more likely to finally cause his heretofore unheard-of death.

The only superhero movie in history to be nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar, and directed by the otherwise prestige-film veteran James Mangold, these are all signs that you're going to get something unusual and brilliantly unique with Logan; and it turns out to be not only an exciting and well-done actioner, but a surprisingly smart meditation on aging and the meaning of life as well. It comes strongly recommended, especially to those middle-aged intellectuals like me who usually won't touch superhero films with a ten-foot pole. Wow, I wish more films like these got made on a regular basis.

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