Cert 15 137mins Stars 4

The gloves are off and the claws are out as Hugh Jackman makes an emotional last stand as the superhero, Wolverine.

True to the spirit of the Marvel comics the character was ripped from, this is a splatter fest of bone splitting, brain skewering violence. And it’s all the more fun for it.

Armed with super tough adamantium bones, retractable claws and an extraordinary healing ability, Wolverine was the breakout star of 2003’s first X-Men film.

Though Jackman hides his leading man looks behind a beard and glasses, there’s no disguising the big Aussie’s fierce physique. The big Aussie actor first played the role in 2003 and he remains imposing, even at forty eight years old.

Now years later, he and Professor Xavier are eking out a living in Mexico. Patrick Stewart brings all his Shakespearean expertise to bear as Wolverine’s surrogate father and wheelchair bound, former X-Men leader.

The third member of the group is Caliban, an albino mutant with the power to sniff out other mutants. Former Ricky Gervais sidekick, Stephen Merchant, gives an affecting performance in heavy makeup. 

A mute orphan of prodigious ability is landed in their care and they’re pursued by heavily armed corporate agents, aiming to terminate her. In a politicised subtext, the bad guys are militarised corporate agents, the good guys are fence-storming Mexicans.

Whereas previously the X-Men series had courted a family audience with a 12A certificate, this one flaunts its 15 age limit. Abandoning spandex and light hearted frolics, this is notably the grittiest, darkest and bloodiest offering in the often disappointing, nine film franchise.

20th Century Fox are clearly aiming for the mega box office of their X-Men spin-off and surprise smash, Deadpool, which also had a 15 certificate. However at £102 million, Logan is more than twice as expensive, so will have to work a lot harder to make as much money.

There’s no lack of money, effort or expertise on show. Ferocious fist fights litter the cross-country chase, and it ends with a drug fuelled rampage through a forest.

Pummelled by far more emotional and physical punches than previous episodes, I almost wish it wasn’t the last one. We’ll see.



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