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  Logan Knives Out
Year: 2017
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse, Al Coronel, Frank Gallegos, Anthony Escobar, Reynaldo Gallegos, Krzysztof Soszynski
Genre: Drama, Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Logan (Hugh Jackman) wakes in his limousine one night - he has been making a living as a chauffeur, carting partygoers around El Paso - and hears someone outside. He realises they are stealing his wheels, and goes outside to remonstrate with them, only for these criminals to shoot him in the chest. Luckily for him, and unluckily for them, he has mutant healing powers that enable him to recover from any injury, and though these have been waning recently as his body is reaching almost two centuries on Planet Earth, he is still able to get back up and go berserker as the gang members do their best to better him, and fail utterly. One more kick in the teeth for Logan: life has not been treating him well recently...

Logan was trumpeted as the final Wolverine movie from Marvel Comics to star Jackman, which made it big news since while his previous two solo outings as the superhero met with a largely muted response, he had been very popular in the X-Men instalments he had played a major part in, and was generally well utilised there. Jackman hit the publicity trail telling all and sundry that this was the Wolverine he had wanted to portray all along, bringing all the finest elements from the page to the screen, and delivering precisely what the fans would have wanted, as he was often deemed the coolest of the X-Men, presumably thanks to his propensity for extreme violence that always goes down well with adolescent boys.

Here he was more violent than ever before as we actually got to witness him murdering bad guys in his trademark, barely reasoning rage, with his metal claws slicing through flesh, cutting bone and doing all sorts of mischief to those who would do him wrong, not to mention those he cared about. This kicked off with Logan as part of a family, and you could argue the better X-Men movies were about family as much as they were about society's outsiders and pariahs, so Professor X (Patrick Stewart) was the grandfather, Logan was the father, Stephen Merchant's mutant finder Caliban was the mother... but who was the granddaughter? She turned out to be a little girl who was technically the title character's offspring, not that he had ever met her mother.

Laura (Dafne Keen) was that girl, and her carer (nurse Elizabeth Rodriguez) has been tracking Logan for some time in the hope that he will not be a deadbeat dad and see about looking after her, though it takes the compassionate Xavier to encourage him to do so. Meanwhile he has to face up to the fact that his mentor is dying of a brain condition that sees him unable to control his psychic powers without the use of medication: he is going senile, basically, and that makes him very dangerous, so much so that we are told he destroyed the other X-Men during one of his seizures, a markedly depressing fate for a whole swathe of beloved superheroes. It was well seen this was set apart from the other franchise entries, which gave director James Mangold carte blanche to treat these characters as he wished.

This was to up the dramatic stakes, some might say melodramatic stakes, as those bad guys are on the trail of Logan and his unofficial family, as instigated by the scientist who has seen to it that the sole new mutants born in the last twenty-five years have been created in a lab for that old cliché, super-soldier duties. This scientist was essayed by Richard E. Grant doing a nice line in Peter Cushing-style villainy, and the film could have done with more of him, just as it could have done with less of the angst that Logan suffers, this guilt apparently making his life a misery as he broods over all those he has killed, and his failings as a human being, you know, the superhero stuff that makes them so much fun to watch. Or not. Although this was very well received by those who had grown up with Wolverine, matching their level of maturity by taking on a more grown up sensibility, in effect that meant a mournful tone and for some a realisation he simply was not compelling enough of a personality to justify the interest in him. Jackman was charismatic, true, but Stewart was more affecting, and to throw Professor X away while lauding the flimsy Logan seemed unjustified in this context. The best Wolverine solo movie, however it was a mediocre field. Music by Marco Beltrami.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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