AS yet another skull splintered, splattering blood and brain matter, I reached the conclusion that I would rather have been in British Colonial India.
The Current Mrs Feeney and I had been undecided about our regular Friday afternoon trip to the cinema. Should we watch Logan, the latest in the Marvel Comics X-Men franchise, or Viceroy’s House, the historical tale of the last days of the British Raj?
We decided on Logan. Neither of us had seen the earlier X-Men films, but the critical noise about Hugh Jackman’s third outing as Logan/Wolverine had been loud and positive, going as far as describing it as a work of movie-making genius.
And anyway, TCMrsF wasn’t sure she could stand two hours of Gillian Anderson’s hilariously strangulated English accent as Lady Mountbatten holding court as the sun went down on the British Empire, and the sub-continent descended into religious and sectarian slaughter.
I was very encouraged by the start. The early scenes between Jackman, the ever wonderful Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier/Professor X), and Stephen Merchant (Caliban) were smart and emotionally engaging.
Mind you, Logan’s metal claws had already ripped apart a gang of would-be car thieves. And then the serious stuff started. Two hours later, TCMrsF and I agreed that there had been simply too much stabbing, slashing and decapitation for us.
I could see why some critics had liked it so much; beyond the gore and the well-choreographed fight scenes, there is a lot going on in the background.
It may be coincidence, but at a time when all the talk in the United States seems to be about building walls, this is a road movie about people trying to cross borders. The irony, of course, is that they are trying to evade border patrols in order to get out of, rather than into, the States.
There is also stuff in here about the dangers of “Frankenstein Science” research into gene manipulation of both food and human beings. I got the impression that director James Mangold isn’t a fan of GM crops.
Richard E Grant’s character (Dr Zander Rice) will inevitably conjure up images of the way the Nazis perverted scientific research through people like Mengele at Auschwitz.
So, it is fair to say that this is far more sophisticated and complex than your average superhero film. I just wish it had been 30 minutes shorter and 20 mangled corpses lighter.
As we left the cinema, I asked TCMrsF what she thought of it: “Violent,” she said. Quite.
Retired Bloke Rating: *** OK way to spend an afternoon at the cinema (if you’ve got the stomach for it.) I’m sure other people will rate it much more highly.
The Film Buff Stuff:
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Mangold/Scott Frank/Michael Green
Cinematographer: John Mathieson
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E Grant.