+ high-res version

I’ve not got much desire to write lots about a film that has been discussed by thousands of other people already this year, but I finally caught up with sweary, violent X-Men spinoff Logan (that’s Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine’s real name, in case you weren’t aware) and I’m just registering the fact that I’ve seen it and I liked it. It’s a little on-the-nose, sometimes – the Shane footage and the X-Men comics appear to have been clunkily dropped into the screenplay, perhaps to try and push the line that this particular story by James Mangold takes place in a serious, non-fictional world, where heroism isn’t rewarded and endings aren’t happy and consequences of actions are felt – but overall I was pretty taken with Mangold’s ability to make all the downers really feel like downers, which is a rare trait in a superhero movie, and I liked the alleviating moments of humour, too. Jackman and Patrick Stewart have played Wolverine and Professor X/Charles Xavier many times over the years, and they’re clearly comfortable in the roles, but it is nice to see both men stretched a little here, acting in scenes that at least try to be thought-provoking regarding the subjects of aging, illness and mortality. Of course the film has to tick certain boxes and entertain through fights involving humans and mutants with abilities, too; these are particularly violent, well-choreographed and, for once, you do feel that the stakes are high (something that most recent efforts in this oeuvre, with their packed rosters of characters, have failed to ensure). So yes, I’m in-line with the majority on this one… it may have a debt towards James Cameron’s Terminator films, as well as plenty of westerns, but it’s sufficiently different to the majority of modern superhero films to make it worth seeing, and you feel there’s an all-round understanding of the characters that serves it well. (****)