Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Logan (Wolverine III) - three men and a little lady meets Green Room

I haven’t seen any of the previous X-Men films on a cinema screen, and have mostly been working away at something else while catching some of them on TV. So going into the Movie House on Dublin Road last night to preview Logan, I had a passing familiarity with the Marvel Comics backstory, but certainly couldn’t have picked Wolverine out of a crowd and didn’t realise this was the last of a trilogy of films tracking his origin and adventures.

Hugh Jackman plays the mutant Wolverine whose sharp talons are quickly seen in action in an opening sequence with dialogue that mostly consists of roars and arghs as blood squirts out of severed arteries and body parts fly through the air in a garage forecourt. And carelessly, Logan – Wolverine’s name on his Social Security documents now that he’s living and working in Civvy Street– doesn’t even check to see if the wheel nuts had been loosened by the eviscerated gang before driving away in his Chrysler limousine!

Apparently there have been no new mutants for 25 years. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is living in an enormous overturned water tank with sunlight streaming in through holes in its rusty shell. It’s a beautiful set, and the jaundiced colouration echoes the sandy ground outside. Stephen Merchant plays the always sarcastic albino Caliban who tends to Charles and has an enhanced sense of smell but is vulnerable to extreme photosensitivity.

The motley crew of three become four when they pick up a taciturn young girl who combines her inner sharpness with powerful gymnastics to fillet anyone standing in her way. Laura (played by Dafne Keen) is the star of the film. Her steely and otherworldly on-screen presence is mesmerising. And when she breaks her silence, her voice and delivery is worth the wait.

The dialogue is perfunctory: “Wolverine – you’re the only one who can help me!” is an accurate yet clich├ęd call to arms. The soundtrack occasionally celebrates the onscreen carnage before reverting back to minor chord dirges. But this isn’t a film about words or music.

Over two hours and fifteen minutes the audience watch Wolverine go on a journey of self discovery, chased from New Mexico to North Dakota with nowhere to lay his head, with kidnappings, fights, more fights and a very creepy Richard E Grant playing Dr Zander Rice. There’s some playful humour but even during the occasional mellow lull in the skirmishes your stomach is churning, ready for the next sequence of choreographed conflict.

Logan is marginally less violent than Green Room, another sinister film featuring actor Patrick Stewart. A lot of deaths, and some new beginnings and the possibility that history will repeat itself. You can catch Logan at Movie House Cinemas and the Odeon from Tuesday 28 February, with the first screenings at 22.23!

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