Claw de force

SFX - - Planet of the Apes Merchandise - Richard Ed­wards

Hugh Jackman’s im­pres­sively adult last hur­rah as Wolver­ine comes to Blu-ray.

RE­LEASED 10 JULY (Blu-ray/ DVD), 24 JUNE (down­load) 2017 | 15 | 4K Blu-ray/Blu-ray/ DVD/down­load Di­rec­tor James Man­gold Cast Hugh Jackman, Pa­trick Ste­wart, Dafne Keen, Stephen Mer­chant, Boyd Hol­brook, Richard E Grant

Wolver­ine was there right at the be­gin­ning of the 21st cen­tury su­per­hero blockbuster boom. Since that first X-Men in 2000, Hugh Jackman’s worn the mut­ton­chops a whop­ping nine times (even Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man has some catch­ing up to do), so it’s fit­ting he’s present for the next stage in the genre’s evo­lu­tion – which is what Lo­gan is, be­cause we’ve never seen a comic book adap­ta­tion quite like this.

In the Mak­ing Of on the Blu-ray, Jackman com­pares the movie to Clint East­wood’s clas­sic cow­boy swan­song Un­for­given. It’s not just PR guff. This is truly an X-Man’s last stand, with the artist for­merly known as Wolver­ine a shadow of his for­mer su­per­hero self: Lo­gan’s work­ing a Joe job as a driver-forhire, he’s drink­ing too much and his body is de­cay­ing. Even his claws strug­gle to ex­tend prop­erly these days. He’s also play­ing nurse­maid to a 90-year-old Pro­fes­sor Xavier, whose mind is fail­ing him to the de­gree that he’s now a weapon of mass de­struc­tion. When you throw in the fact that in this par­tic­u­lar fu­ture mu­tant-kind has all but died out (as ever, it’s best not to get too hung up on con­ti­nu­ity in the X-movies), it’s clear that this isn’t your av­er­age su­per­hero out­ing.

Af­ter Apoca­lypse’s un­nec­es­sary ex­cess, Lo­gan shows how be­ing smaller and more fo­cused is some­times the way to go. You could view the film as a road movie or even a Western, but ul­ti­mately it’s about fam­ily, a film where re­la­tion­ships aren’t just squeezed into the gaps be­tween the ac­tion set-pieces. In­stead, di­rec­tor/co-writer James Man­gold (re­turn­ing from The Wolver­ine) is happy to let Lo­gan and Xavier talk at length, and it’s a joy to watch two gruff el­der states­men of the X-uni­verse bick­er­ing, their bit­ter­ness about the way their lives have turned out tem­pered by their ob­vi­ous af­fec­tion for one an­other. Jackman and Pa­trick Ste­wart are both mag­nif­i­cent, but they’re matched by 11-year-old new­comer Dafne Keen as the mu­tant, adaman­tium-clawed child who may just turn out to be a source of re­demp­tion for both men.

Lo­gan also pitches the threat level just right – the cy­ber­net­i­cally en­hanced Reavers chas­ing the heroes are more plau­si­ble than Sen­tinels, Apoca­lypse or even Sabre­tooth – and while Wolvie gets the chance to keep fans happy with an R-rated berserker rage, the ac­tion ser­vices, rather than com­petes with the story. Jackman and Ste­wart have both said this will be their last out­ing as X-Men, and af­ter Lo­gan they’d be crazy to re­turn – it’s hard to think of a more per­fect end­ing for char­ac­ters who helped to de­fine a genre.

Ex­tras As be­fits a movie that em­braces the grown-up end of the comic-book spec­trum, Lo­gan comes with rather more in­tel­li­gent ex­tras than your av­er­age blockbuster re­lease.

Man­gold’s en­ter­tain­ing com­men­tary is the high­light, re­veal­ing a film­maker who’s to­tally em­braced the op­por­tu­nity to make a su­per­hero movie his way. He talks in depth about the chal­lenges

Wolver­ine is a shadow of his for­mer su­per­hero self

of do­ing some­thing new – he ar­gues that for Wolver­ine the ul­ti­mate chal­lenge is not sav­ing the world, but deal­ing with fam­ily, and that push­ing for an R-rat­ing was less about vi­o­lence than nail­ing the right tone – and pro­vides com­pelling rea­sons for pretty much ev­ery de­ci­sion he made. Six-part doc­u­men­tary Mak­ing

Lo­gan (76 min­utes) cov­ers sim­i­lar ground, but brings in ad­di­tional voices like Jackman, Ste­wart and Keen – with the ad­di­tional ad­van­tage of be­hind-the-scenes footage, cos­tume tests and more. It’s slightly self-con­grat­u­la­tory – for­giv­able, be­cause you can tell ev­ery­body knows they’ve made some­thing spe­cial – but it makes a wel­come change to watch a movie doc that isn’t just lim­ited to five-sec­ond sound­bites.

The six deleted scenes with op­tional Man­gold com­men­tary (seven min­utes) are in­ter­est­ing with­out be­ing es­sen­tial – it’s good to see more fun with the movie’s “X-Men comics are real!” strand, and an­other mu­tant kid show­ing off his skills, but it’d be hard to ar­gue that Man­gold didn’t make the right call ex­cis­ing them.

High-def ver­sions also come with Lo­gan Noir, a black and white ver­sion of the movie. It looks pretty, but as with the re­cent Black & Chrome edi­tion of Mad Max: Fury Road, los­ing colour de­tracts from a movie whose washed-out pal­ette adds to the at­mos­phere. The most no­table thing about it is the old-school mono­chrome 20th Cen­tury Fox “Cin­e­mas­cope” ti­tles.

A set of trail­ers round out the pack­age. DVD view­ers just get the Man­gold com­men­tary and deleted scenes.

The clas­sic Western Xavier watches with Laura is Shane (1953). Its re­tired gun­slinger plot has clear par­al­lels with Lo­gan.

Pro tip: to dis­tract vi­o­lent young mutants, wave a box of ce­real in front of them.

Auditions for Lit­tle Bri­tain con­tin­ued.

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