LC and I went to see the third and final Wolverine movie on Friday.
It's very well made indeed, but...
Basically, the film does everything it sets out to do, and does it just right. This is probably the way Wolverine should have been handled in all his solo films, in terms of the language, the violence, and the seriousness of it all. And the performances are great - Hugh Jackman has the role down to a fine art by now, and Patrick Stewart is excellent as always.
I'm not sure it's really accurate to say we enjoyed the film. Admired it, certainly, and appreciated the way it was made, and the performances, and so forth. But it's really depressing, with a deeply ambivalent ending, and is generally pretty grim. So, yeah, it's a good film, but it's not one I enjoyed at all.
It's also worth noting that, like "Mr Holmes" a couple of years ago, the very strength of one of the performances was actually an issue. As with Ian McKellen in "Mr Holmes", Patrick Stewart here is portraying the ravages of age, and in particular a struggle with dementia. And he's very good.
But in being so good, he strikes rather too close to the bone for comfort. It's a great performance, but quite upsetting to watch.
(Actually, see also Maggie Smith in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" - another great performance, but because the character is, initially, a fairly unpleasant racist, it's not comfortable viewing.)
So, I find myself somewhat ambivalent about the film. On the one hand, I strongly recommend it; on the other hand, it does need a trigger warning - it's not for the faint of heart, so brace yourself before going.
(Oh, and incidentally, it also hits pretty much exactly on something I've been looking for for quite some time - an answer to the question of what actually constitutes "mature themes". Up to now, the answer has seems to have been a rather puerile "boobs&blood" formula. But this film addresses questions of age and mortality, and also regret, redemption and just living with the guilt. Strong stuff, and something I hope we see more of now that Hollywood seems to have rediscovered the 'R' rating. Which is nice - much as I enjoy the four-colour heroics of the Avengers, I do also enjoy seeing something rather more substantial!)
And that, I think, is all I want to say about that - I'd rather stay clear of any deeper spoilers for this one.
Oh, no, one more thing: oddly, the film left me somewhat conflicted on it being Jackman and Stewart's last performances in these roles. Because, on the one hand, the film left me very much wanting more (albeit perhaps not more of exactly this), but on the other hand it was such a perfect way to bow out. In the end, I think stopping now is probably best - they're unlikely ever to do better. And so, although the rumoured cameo of Wolverine in "Deadpool 2" might be quite nice, I think I'd rather they didn't. In this film series, unlike in this blog post, it seems best to end once you've said all you have to say.