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Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Director: James Mangold. Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen. Running Time: 135 min. Release Date: March 3

The Boy from Oz is an old man from over the hill in the new Wolverine flick titled Logan. Our hairy hero jumps into the future and is looking a little worse for wear living in the West.

This is the 10th installment in the popular franchise that only seems to fail when too many characters are introduced. This one, thankfully, keeps that to a minimum. It is the third solo Wolverine film and, after 2013's The Wolverine, I was skeptical about this one. This was quickly put aside for this fresh take on the Canadian superhero portrayed by an Australian.

Logan is inspired by a storyline in the Wolverine comic series called Old Man Logan, and takes place in the post-apocalyptic future. Hugh Jackman has dropped the superhero monicker Wolverine. He is now known as Logan, and is shacked up with Professor X ( Patrick Stewart ) and also a mutant tracker called Caliban ( newcomer Stephen Merchant ). They live on the Mexican border, hiding themselves after their powers have gone awry. The professor has gone loco and is blasting surrounding people with his telepathic powers unless he's sedated; Logan drives a limo and Caliban cooks dinner.

The trio are dragged out of seclusion by a new, young mutant named Laura, who has powers similar to Wolverine's. A group called the Reavers are out to get her as well as the rest of the X-babies created in a laboratory by a mad scientist played sinisterly by Richard E. Grant. In no time, the mutants are on the run cross-country looking for safety in a place called Eden.

Mutants have been compared to the gay community in the past and it makes it easy to root for Logan when he takes on the bullies for being different. In a nice touch, the X-kids are unique and diverse, ethnically. Actress Dafne Keen hits all the right notes in the role as Laura. "Wolverina" quickly shows her chops by stealing every scene from the acting pros. Keen only had television experience before this and carries many of the scenes on her little shoulders.

Knowing a bit of Spanish is helpful, as there are no subtitles—but it's not necessary. This gritty future pic has lots of adult language, and the violence hits Walking Dead levels of gore throughout. It is R-rated, and not for the kiddies, true believers! Speaking of Stan Lee's catch phrase, with this endeavor being from a different movie studio there is no cameo by the iconic comic creator and no secret ending after the credits so don't wait around.

The X-Men and Wolverine franchise has grown confusing over the years, but this time out it is a whole new ball game where new audiences can enjoy the ride. It is only loosely based on the past comic so old fans will have no idea what is coming next.

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