Movie Reviews: Logan and The Shack

I have it on good authority (my son, son-in-law, and adult grandson) that The Wolverine in Logan is truer to the original character in Marvel Comics than in his previous theatrical outings. Apparently, he was a fairly nasty, hard-to-like kind of guy. He is indeed that in this movie, spouting f-bombs like the bullets from an automatic weapon, severing heads and limbs with reckless abandon. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 93% from the critics and a 94% from the people who actually went and saw it. Is it a good movie? A qualified yes. It has complex characters, a compelling plot, and it is hard to take your eyes from the screen. My reservation shows my age: I like my superhero movies to be fun. Logan is anything but that. It is a grim, humorless paean to intense violence and dystopia. That said, if you’re a fan of the John Wick movies, you’ll love it. But please don’t bring your kids.

The Shack was a revelation to me. I went in not expecting much. I admit I was suspicious about the Rotten Tomatoes ratings: the critics gave it 16% and the people who went to the theater gave it 88%. That kind of discrepancy is a dead giveaway of pre-formed opinions: I think Rotten Tomatoes critics just don’t like Christian movies. I worried the film might be a sentimental, watered-down version of the book, but it is not. It confronts head-on parents’ absolutely worst nightmare: the murder of their young daughter by a vicious serial killer. The girl’s father, played wonderfully by Sam Worthington of Avatar fame, is consumed by grief, guilt, and bitterness. He rages against God for allowing such a heinous crime. And God invites him to the shack where the murder was committed to talk about it. What follows is a profound exploration of grief, love, and the presence of evil in the world. I saw the film with a friend who describes himself as being “spiritual” but denies being a Christian. He liked the film also. Be prepared for a heart-wrenching journey of faith and redemption. And bring Kleenex.

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