dir James Mangold
scr Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
prd Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker
with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E Grant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, Quincy Fouse, Jason Genao, Hannah Westerfield
release US/UK 3.Mar.17
17/US Fox 2h17
Reluctant hero: Jackman and Keen

stewart merchant grant
See also:
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) The Wolverine (2013)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Logan Dark and gritty, this is billed as the final outing for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. The look and tone set it apart from all previous X-Men movies. Filmmaker James Mangold has made an intriguingly downbeat, character-based road movie that isn't afraid to go to some remarkably brutal places. This tone leaves it feeling rather too long, but it's also surprisingly emotional.

In 2029, there are no mutants left. Drunken, worn-out Logan (Jackman) is hiding as a limo driver in Texas. He keeps Charles, aka Professor X (Stewart), in a secret location in Mexico, watched over by the albino Caliban (Merchant). But a nurse (Rodriguez) finds Logan, asking him to take her daughter Laura (Keen) to a sanctuary in North Dakota. Discovering a connection Logan reluctantly hits the road with Laura and Charles. But a tenacious henchman (Holbrook) is on his trail, sent by the sinister Dr Rice (Grant), from whose Mexico City lab Laura escaped.

As a director, Mangold invests the film with a startlingly earthy and downbeat tone. John Mathieson's photography is grainy, Peter Lando's sets are messy, and nothing comes easily to any of the characters in this harsh landscape where violence speaks louder than words. All of this gives the film an almost overwhelming sense of melancholy, with the pungent sadness emphasised in Marco Beltrami's score. The pacing is so steady that the story sometimes seems to creep along at a desperate crawl.

All of this is in service of character-building, and Jackman gets a chance to deliver some of his best work ever, digging into Logan's emotional inner life to find the flailing beast inside. He's like a bear with a thorn in his paw, scary and so likeable that even his scarred muscular physique doesn't stop us from wanting to hug him. Stewart also gets a chance to deepen Charles far beyond any other X-Men film. And newcomer Keen shines in a tricky role that relies on very little dialog and lots of physical action.

As they inch their way north through the epic landscape, the script's structure becomes somewhat repetitive. A second face-off between Logan and his doppelganger is unnecessary, as is the need for quite so much vicious bloodletting. But these things add to the film's blunt force, providing a driving sense of dramatic intensity even if there isn't much real suspense. It's this personal touch that makes the film so gripping, and ultimately moving.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 1.Mar.17

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