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"Logan"

Yeah. Logan. Harsh. Yeah. I knew that, but until seeing it last night I didn't know that. My friend Heather had passes for me and other friends, which is why I saw Logan while it's still in first-run theaters instead of waiting for it to hit the Laurelhurst. Thank you, Heather.

When The Dark Knight came out, a writer at SomeECards wrote "I can't wait to see what stands to be the most devastatingly bleak popcorn movie in history." LOGAN REMINDED ME OF THAT. It's set in a harsh future infested by assholes, and where most mutants from the previous X-Men films have died and most of the surviving mutants, like Hugh Jackman's Logan (a.k.a. Wolverine), are in bad shape. I like the film's matter-of-fact depiction of its time period, several years ahead of our own; come to think of it, I'd been impressed by the matter-of-fact sense of place another James Mangold film, 1999's Girl, Interrupted, had. I wonder if his films in general are good about this.

The film slowly turns into a Western, and a sad, disturbingly violent one, unapologetically earning its R rating. Fights are angry and often wrenching, with the extra science-fictional layer of "some of our characters can't be killed in normal ways." Logan doesn't do, and doesn't need, Spaghetti Western strangeness: its being a future-set Western with mutants is strange, and unique, enough.

Dafne Keen, in the key role of child mutant Laura Kinney — made into a mini-Wolverine and already trained to kill — is amazing. Disconcertingly quiet, at times almost feral, and with eyes that seem to see all the baggage and bullshit the other characters have, Keen pulls off a great performance in a role that's almost surreal; Laura's likely the strangest, most disturbing aspect of this disturbing movie.

Strong cast all around, including Patrick Stewart as the aged, sick and pissed-off Charles Xavier, one of the last surviving mutants and who is more dangerous the more his powerful mind deteriorates. Some of the casting choices are almost comforting, with key supporting parts played by people who made me go Oh! I haven't seen ______ in a while, nice that they're in this.

Logan is very good, but I am glad that after I got home, I stumbled on a clip show from the much lighter 1993 film The Sandlot. Light, cute, funny chaser. (Though Logan was often genuinely funny.)

And finally, congrats on a hell of a run in the role, Hugh Jackman. I hope since filming wrapped that you've treated yourself to a less grueling workout regimen, plus lots of previously-banned food.