Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2017. Donners’ Company, Kinberg Genre, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Story by James Mangold, Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green, based on characters created by John Romita Sr., Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Herb Trimpe, Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost. Cinematography by John Mathieson. Produced by Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner. Music by Marco Beltrami. Production Design by Francois Audouy. Costume Design by Daniel Orlandi. Film Editing by Michael McCusker, Dick Westervelt. Academy Awards 2017. Washington Film Critics Awards 2017.
We move about twenty-odd years beyond the present and things aren’t looking so slick for a couple of X-Men. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) is in his nineties and mentally degenerating, his mind kept under control by tranquilizers to prevent the dangerous events that occur when he suffers a seizure. He’s being looked after by an aging, broken down Logan, aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who is ignoring his own physical degeneration while working as a limo driver, keeping his friend alive with the assistance of seer Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Trouble and rich adventure simultaneously fall into Logan’s lap when a woman approaches him and begs him to take her and a little girl to a safe haven in North Dakota; our hero avoids them both until he realizes that the younger of the two has a very personal connection to him. They all set off on the road, but there are always men in white lab coats (headed up by a sneaky Richard E. Grant) not far behind, necessitating more than a few grisly fights and taking out more than a few innocent bystanders. Loud, violent and relentless, this combination of superhero tale and Clint Eastwood Lone Man action films, with hints of Terminator 2 and Fury Road thrown in, is a wholly satisfying road movie that is not ruined by its dour tone, dark narrative, or some of the more predictable sequences (don’t give her that iPod, dude). Jackman keeps it sarcastic and fun but gives the proper dramatic weight to his character’s situation, while Stewart enriches his every scene with his ominous delivery in a convincingly foggy state. Newcomer Dafne Keen steals scenes a-plenty in her mostly wordless role as the transport package who turns out to be quite handy at taking care of herself. There’s an appalling amount of blood and gore in this film, you might want to think twice before letting small children see it, but adults will be in heaven; it’s a serious superhero movie that, miraculously, manages to never take itself too seriously.