If I had a special connection to the X-Men franchise, and if Wolverine had been one of my all-time favourite characters, I would’ve appreciated this far more. This whole setup feels like the culmination of a grand story that started years ago, as well as a big farewell that fans could partake in together. Casual viewers like myself who are watching from afar have to treat this as a contained work, and I guess it does fairly well in that respect. There’s a lot of intense, gory action in grand neo-Western style and some neat visual sequences, such as the ones that involve Xavier’s mind paralysis. Hugh Jackman is getting on in years (which is the whole point of this, obviously), yet he can still work the camera and play the perpetually pissed off bad boy without breaking a sweat. I really enjoyed his chemistry with Patrick Stewart, who is a joyous presence here in general. His Xavier in this one is so fatherly and benevolent. This was also a great debut for Dafne Keen, clawing up as Jackman’s successor (presumably) and using her expressive eyes to her advantage.
This is still rather long and drawn-out, and including the kindly black family here just so they can bite the dust is… a choice. And apart from the crazy and indestructible Wolverine clone, the villains are also kinda lame, to be honest. Boyd Holbrook looks distractingly like Garrett Hedlund, and it was driving me nuts. They even have similar voices, for goodness’ sake! They should have just cast Hedlund and have done with it, because I’m not here for these cheap knockoffs. Just kidding. Or am I?
Anyway, our superheroes are mortal and flawed, and the gritty ones no longer live in comic books and wear brightly-coloured suits. Wolverine dismissively tossing aside Laura’s comics was the bluntest way to get that message across, but it worked because it was a little funny. Christopher Nolan should’ve included Batman comics in his films for Christian Bale to moodily tear up.