It’s been 17 years since then unknown actor Hugh Jackman stole the role of Wolverine from Who Framed Rodger Rabbit star Bob Hoskins (No, really, this was almost a thing) and embarked on a career defining and icon making turn in the first X-Men film. A film described by Sir Patrick Stewart as “The most expensive trailer ever made.”
But now, citing his age and recurring skin cancer, Jackman has decided to hang up his claws after one last ride. And I was looking forward to it, firstly because i’m loving the fact the Deadpool has breathed new life into a rating beyond the 12a (even if a lower budget is the price we pay) and I was hoping that the film would tie up several loose ends regarding the spaghetti that is the X-Men franchises timeline.
It didn’t do that.
In fact, this is pretty much a stand alone film in look, tone, attitude and complete lack on interest in anything that went before it.
Yeah, from the first few frames you can tell that this is a different type of X-man film. It’s filmed in a raw and gritty style with a bleak feeling to it. Everyone just seems tired. Wolverine is a worn out drunk eking out a living as a limousine driver, and caring for an ailing Professor X who is hiding in Mexico. No new mutants have been born for over twenty years and the rest seem to have died of plot. Into this mix, Wolverine is suddenly required to take a mysterious girl to a location in North Dakota whilst on the run from a relentless enemy forcing him into an odyssey through if not a ruined America, then one that seems to be on the decline.
And it is an odyssey, with a run-time of 137 min (123 min in the Mainland China Censored Version) you defiantly feel that 20 minutes could have been shaved off without harming the film in any way shape or form. I mean The Terminator which this film reminded me of in several ways played out a similar narrative in a mere 107 minutes.
That’s not to say that I was bored. Slightly fidgety at times, yes. But never bored. Mostly due to amazing performances from not only Jackman and Stewart (who is clearly relishing playing a crotchety grandfather type) but also a star making turn from first timer Dafne Keen as a mysterious child who kicks off what passes for the story. She gives an incredibly subtle performance whilst having an otherworldly look. She is a star in the making.
Hell, director James Mangold even managed to get Richard E Grant to give an actual performance for the first time in God knows how long.
And i’m intrigued by the alleged black-and-white version that is allegedly in the works. Not enough to sit through the film again, but I still think it would fit better with the tone than the slightly washed out and faded look my screening had.
Logan is a well acted finale to an iconic character, well acted and shot but with too thin a narrative spread over too long a run-time. If they could have shaved 15-20 minutes off of the run-time it wouldn’t have hurt the narrative- hell it would have helped it. But, as is?
My Score- See It