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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Hugh Jackman
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
5 039036 080569
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 10 July 2017

Hiding out in the desert a weary Logan is taking care of an ailing Charles Xavier, in a world where mutants have become almost existence, with none born in the preceding twenty-five years. His cover is blown when he is approached by Gabriela who is desperate for Logan’s help, to protect the life of a young girl. Reluctantly and against his best instincts he ends up protecting Laura…

Logan (2017. 2 hrs, 17 min, 23 sec) is the last film to star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The film was directed by James Mangold, who also directed The Wolverine in 2013.

There has always been that certain personality trait displayed by Logan, he holds himself apart, worn down by the number of people who he cares for that come to harm. Part of this is down to him living so long, in theory, with his healing factor there is no reason to believe that Logan isn’t essentially immortal but this is not the picture we see. Logan doesn’t just look weary, he looks ill. Sure, he is drinking during the day and has always smoked cigars, but these factors pail against his ability to withstand Jean Grey's Dark Phoenix. This is something different, whereas Logan’s would regenerate his skin, he now shows the scars left from fights.

The film opens with Logan sleeping off what we presume was his last bout of booze in the back of his uber limousine, when a group of car jackers try to steal his tires. These guys need no introduction as they are in an extensive line of cardboard villains which Logan has dispatched through his lifetime. The difference is that Logan is noticeably slower, when he is shot he does not instantly heal and the whole fight leaves him exhausted. Of course, there is an explanation for this, or at least the film provides one answer, and even this is supposition on Logan’s part. All this means that while Logan may be the only person who can withstand the Xavier’s seizures, this does come with a cost.

Charles (Patrick Stewart) is also unwell in an unspecified way. Once holding the world’s most potent mind, Charles is now prone to seizures which paralyse and kill anyone close enough to him; hence Logan is the only one who can get close enough to administer the medication which makes them stop. Charles also shows evidence of short term memory loss, although we do not know if this is a side effect of the medication or if Charles is suffering from some form of degenerative disease. Many aspects of the film get only half answers or are not really answered at all. I was really fine about this, it left some things to the audience’s imagination while concentrating on the relationships between the characters.

During the report of one of Charles's seizures the news program states that it is similar in nature to an event which happened previously which disabled hundreds and killed several mutants. For fans of the comic book this would refer to the time Wolverine thought he was protecting the school from an invasion only to discover that he had been duped and had actually killed all the X-Men.

The film is more open ended and it is left very much to the audience discretion whether you think Wolverine is the killer and is taking care of Charles out of guilt, or that it was one of Charles's seizures which killed his substitute family. Certainly, when we meet Charles he is in a confused state and may not remember. There is a deleted scene from later in the movie when Charles accuses Logan of killing Jean Grey, but the look on Logan’s face indicates that this is not the truth.

Our strange mini family is completed with Caliban (Stephen Merchant), one of the few mutants left alive. In 2029 there have been no new mutants born in the last twenty-five years and those that remain are either old, dead or MIA. It’s probably the only issue I had with the film. We do get an explanation for the lack of births, but even in this timeline we have been shown Charles in Cerebro, demonstrating that there are possibly tens of thousands of mutants in the world and no explanation where they went to.

The trio is eventually enlarged with the arrival of Laura, a young girl on the run from a secret project, who has the same ferocity and rage of a younger Logan. I can imagine that the writers wondered if they could get a young actress who the audience would believe was capable of such violence and at the same time make her fight scenes believable. Dafne Keen is just brilliant in the role and adds a fluidity of movement that Logan, due to his bulk, would have been incapable of.

For the bad guys, Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant) and Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) - as the leader of the Reavers, another nod to the comic books - do their job well, but they are only the stimulus from which this story about age and family take their springboard.

The film is part road trip, with Logan as the dad, with a grumpy granddad and a young daughter. Along the way Logan is confronted by the idea of family, even to the point of Charles arguing with him that when they first met Logan was a mess and it was being accepted into the extended family of the X-Men which saved his sanity and life. The film is also part cowboy film. There is a scene where Laura, who knows little about the outside, world is watching Shane on the television with Charles, and it can not a coincidence that this is a famous cowboy film about a killer with a mysterious past who gives his life in defence of the weaker settlers.

The film is not only the perfect swansong for Logan and Charles; it is an immensely well-made film; the cinematography makes this a beautiful film to watch. We have had comic book films which have which have contained violence and gore, but while the film does not hold back on these elements, it is much more: it’s a film about ideas, of family, sacrifice, love and bonds which are not so easily broken. It’s a shame that the version of 'Hurt' by Johnny Cash wasn’t used in the film as both the lyric and tone perfectly matched this beautiful, but bleak movie.

The DVD contains some deleted scenes, with optional commentary by the director as well as a very interesting full-length commentary.


Charles Packer

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