Claw de force
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.