This is Hugh Jackman’s widely announced ‘swansong’ as Wolverine/Logan, the mutant with adamantine knives in his knuckles. As the movie opens, he seems more mortal than super-hero, care-worn, drinking too much, driving a stretch limo near the Mexican border to pay for the meds desperately needed by ailing Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart). A young girl, Laura, arrives in their lives, pursued by mutant-hunters: she’s a Mini-Me version of Wolverine, possessed of similar talons and talents. Logan gets his ‘mojo’ back and he and Laura fight off the first wave of hunters. But there are more where they came from, directed by a Frankensteinian doctor (Richard E. Grant) in whose lab the girl was created, along with a Terminator version of Wolverine. The rest of the movie is chase and run, fight and run – pretty much the standard fare of the X-Men franchise. The fight scenes, of which there are many, are fairly visceral with now four sets of blades chopping up the baddies.
The world-weariness and a certain elegiac quality raise this above the mainstream of Marvel adaptations. Jackman and Stewart, two very charismatic players, give more nuanced performances than the genre normally allows. Stephen Merchant makes his mark in a cameo as a kind of super-albino. We may see more of Laura (Dafne Keen) if she takes over Logan’s role in the next X-Men instalment: will she be ‘Wolverina’? And will there be another Final Chapter to usher Magneto into the Twilight Home?