Movie re­view


OUR film re­viewer James Burgess is a 26-year-old per­for­mance, drama and theatre grad­u­ate. The for­mer Fal­li­b­roome High School pupil has at­tended the BAFTA Film Awards in Lon­don ev­ery year since 2009, meet­ing stars in­clud­ing Dame He­len Mir­ren, Chris­tian Bale, Joseph Gor­don-Le­vitt and Emma Thomp­son. James lives on St Ives Close in Mac­cles­field. You can visit his web­site at www.jab­film­re­views. Lo­gan Cert: 15, 137 mins ap­prox, 20th Cen­tury Fox and Marvel Stu­dios Show­ing at Cinemac un­til Thurs­day, March 16 Rat­ing: IT’S easy to for­get that with to­day’s ver­i­ta­ble menu of su­per­hero or fran­chise block­busters (my favourite genre) and their in­nu­mer­able ex­trap­o­la­tions of se­quel, pre­quel, re­boot and cin­e­matic-uni­verse cross­over etc – it all be­gan with X-Men.

Since the early Su­per­man films, they’d been lack­ing in pop­u­lar­ity.

That changed in 2000, when orig­i­nal X-Men di­rec­tor Bryan Singer, (helm­ing four to date), made a sur­prise hit, rein­vig­o­rat­ing au­di­ence an­tic­i­pa­tion. Its fig­ure­head was Hugh Jackman’s grouchy, adaman­tium-clawed Wolver­ine.

Lo­gan is the ninth in­stal­ment, as well as the lat­est of three stand­alone chap­ters, which fo­cus pri­mar­ily on his char­ac­ter, with Jackman hav­ing long-stated this is his last ap­pear­ance in the role.

Crit­i­cally lauded as the most im­pres­sive ad­di­tion in re­cent years, its an al­most rad­i­cal de­par­ture: stripped-back, gritty, edgy and vis­ceral. The saga’s tone has never gone this dark and dar­ing be­fore.

While most au­di­ences prob­a­bly find this sud­den change re­fresh­ing, with the cast say­ing: ‘It hardly felt like an X-Men movie at all’ – for me, that’s pre­cisely the prob­lem. The reg­u­lar X-Men films, canon­i­cally, not only fea­ture all the mu­tants col­lab­o­rat­ing to­gether but also have spec­ta­cle, hu­mour, ac­tion set-pieces laden with CGI and con­se­quently are so much more fun. I pre­fer them lighter and brighter, with more zip, pace and that vi­tal fan­tas­ti­cal el­e­ment fore­grounded through­out.

In­stead, much of that is jet­ti­soned here in favour of be­ing so se­ri­ous, pared-down and ex­tremely vi­o­lent.

Maybe not gra­tu­itously so, but cer­tainly un­nec­es­sar­ily.

Wolver­ine’s trade­mark slic­ing-and-dic­ing is still in­tact – but didn’t need quite so much blood and oc­ca­sional de­cap­i­ta­tion.

It didn’t bother me per­son­ally, but the much pub­li­cised 15-rat­ing is fully jus­ti­fied. Di­rec­tor James Man­gold’s con­scious choice to in­clude both only in­ter­mit­tent ac­tion and the briefest glimpse of su­per-pow­ers, will suit some and there are a few sur­prise twists.

Jackman and Pa­trick Ste­wart’s shock­ingly frail Pro­fes­sor Xavier, hid­ing out in a Mex­i­can dust­bowl, (a land­scape aptly evok­ing the nar­ra­tive’s themes of iso­la­tion), both give strong per­for­mances, as does Boyd Holbrook es­pe­cially, as a slimy new bionic vil­lain.

‘You’re not the only one that’s been en­hanced’ he drawls.

As good as it is, X2 or Apoca­lypse are so much more sat­is­fy­ing.

Hugh Jackman stars as Lo­gan in the lat­est in­stal­ment from the X-Men

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