Dr. Jon Suter, Movie Man

This Week’s Review: Kong: Skull Island; Get Out, and Logan.

I started the spring break with three movies, but not all on the same day. Even I have more sense than to try for a trifecta. I saw, in order: Kong: Skull Island; Get Out and Logan. That is a lot of escapism for one weekend.

Kong is yet another version of the basic story, but this is set in the last days of the Vietnam War. Satellite technology has finally revealed the existence of Kong’s stomping grounds; this time, the ship of foolish and intrepid explorers is backed up by an escort of armed helicopters fresh from the fighting in Vietnam. As we know, Kong does not care for intruders, but he is also a sucker for beautiful girls. Can he stand up to 1973’s latest armaments, including napalm, at the same time he is fighting off horrors emerging from the center of the earth? Of course he can. If you stay through the closing credits, you will be assured that sequels are coming.

When I saw the first trailers for Get Out, I thought it would be a Gothic version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; I was not far off. The first few minutes of the film were very similar to the earlier film, but it does take long to realize that something is very wrong about the prospective in-laws. There are overtones of The Stepford Wives, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and similar films. Eventually, the plot becomes too convoluted to be remotely credible, but there are some effective chills along the way.

The film I most wanted to see was Logan, the last Wolverine film to feature Hugh Jackman; it is also Patrick Stewart’s last appearance as Professor Xavier. They are among the last mutants left alive; at the time of the story, no new mutants have been born for more than a quarter of a century and there are very few still alive. Xavier seems to be suffering from some sort of brain disease and Wolverine is dying from some internal contamination. There are, of course, plenty of enemies in need of killing. The film is very dark and very bloody; it deserves its R rating.

A new generation of mutants is being cloned from the tissues of the X-Men (and of their enemies). Logan and the Professor rescue a young female clone of Wolverine and take her from Mexico to North Dakota where she can join “classmates” and cross into Canada. Any parallels between the refugee mutants and the Israelites leaving Egypt is more than coincidental. As with Moses, Logan can not enter the Promised Land, but he goes out in a blaze of glory. The closing shot of his tomb made me gasp.

None of these three is absolutely essential, but Kong and Logan do deserve to be seen on a big screen.

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