Michael Bergeron
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Film Facts: “Logan,” “Saving Banksy” + more

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There’s a bit of the beast in all of us. Wolverine takes the audience on a final journey of sorts. A constant barrage of R-rated violence lends a distinct air of retaliatory cinema to what could also be called a dying breed of genre – the comic book character movie. One thing that Logan makes clear is that Wolverine is no hero.

Hugh Jackman returns with director James Mangold who helmed a previous installment of the X-Men spinoff (The Wolverine, 2013) to take the character to his logical conclusion. Along the way we meet a distaff pre-teen wolveriness cloned from Logan’s DNA, some shadowy heavily armed types hunting for the girl, and familiar X-father-figure Patrick Stewart. Dafne Keen plays the baby wolverines with an at times feral intensity.

There’ve already been precedent setting comic book films that mined R-rated imagery both tongue-in-cheek (Kick Ass, Deadpool) and furiously with a vengeance as in the two films featuring The Punisher, one in 1989 with Dolph Lundgren and the Thomas Jane version from 2004. Logan totally embraces spear knuckle beheadings with as much relish as gunshot riddling.

Mangold takes iconic material and gives it a bloody albeit emotionally satisfying twist. In an alternative universe Logan would be a 1970s revenge drama starring Joe Don Baker.

AlsoOn

  • The MFAH unwinds the Cuban-Russian film I Am Cuba (1964), which features some incredible black-and-white photography in its examination of early 1960s Cuba not unlike a cousin of Leni Riefenstahl’s ’30s documentaries. I Am Cuba was not a success upon initial release but rather re-discovered decades later by directors like Scorsese and Coppola who coached its restoration. Sunday, March 5, at 5 pm.
  • The Secret Group at 2101 Polk (Sunday, March 5 at 8:30 pm.) presents Saving Banksy, a documentary that follows one art collector who purchased a wall where Banksy had left his mark on a trip to San Francisco. Banksy’s found art is in a sense like the Buddhist or Hindu concept of rebirth. Banksy’s art was never meant to be worth millions but rather to be destroyed and reborn in another incarnation. In this case his graffiti from a West Coast 2010 vacation now finds a second life in a museum tour and subsequent collector’s power grab.