Logan (2017)

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James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Boyd Holbrook in this third solo adventure for everyone’s favourite X-Man that at last might actually satisfy X-Men fans for the first time. 

Gorily violent, sweary, dour and even with a knowingly unnecessary shot of boobs. Mangold and Jackman have taken full effort to make Wolverine’s ninth and last appearance everything his previous solo adventures were not. There’s no brewing atmosphere suddenly sacrificed for giant robot finales. There is no ensemble of characters based around a toyline rather than a plotline. So, the movie avoids the crippling errors of Origins and “2” almost as deftly as it adds what the fan boys crave (the first 20 minutes featuring nothing much more than a broken Logan driving around as a fancy Uber driver and yet has enough hungover naughty words and crimson chunks to sate even the most bloodthirsty punter.) Does this make for a perfect blockbuster cinematic experience? Well… Logan lacks say the utter carnage of Fury Road, the mindblowing intricacies of The Dark Knight or the classy spectacle of Rogue One, preferring to deliver its adult thrills as pit stops in a rather unfussy road movie. The action is relatively low key (but by no means rote or uninvolving), the touchstones are not IMAX influenced but revisionist Westerns like Shane or Unforgiven… and, as my boy Davey pointed out, the arc entire is accidentally identical to Mel’s recent comeback Blood Father, no bad thing. And while the look and heft of it is all grit, cynicism  and melancholy you still get niggles from the more immature franchise attempts of past inching their way on screen. Sketches from a less hardcore movie appear slightly gratingly behind the frame. X-24, when he appears feels like he belongs in the PG-13 world of the previous movies, as do the “death squad” chasing kids to execute them, only to round them up instead for a good old rescue attempt. Support wise Stewart (old hand!), Dafne Keen (deadly little Wolvie!) and Holbrook (charming villian!) all impress thoroughly. But this is Jackman’s movie. He has been incomparable as the anti-hero of X-Series for the past 17 years, suffering Last Stands and Origins, boosting everything else with his convincing beserker rages, world weary gruffness and old school, hidden romantic masculinity. It is a travesty it has taken this long for us to get the movie that that first shot of him back in 2000 promised. Drinking shots in a cage fight, begrudgingly ruining a man for a dollar. Full circle at last. Now we have it, feature length, I’m going to watch it as much as I can on the biggest screen I can. Logan rocks!

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