Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Logan 12.03.17

Logan 12.03.17

12/03/17, Logan

A film in which an old gunslinger is called into action one final time, Logan has heart and a tenderness, at least for the first two-thirds. Its conclusion embraces a nondescript action sequence and that's a shame; I even wonder if the anticlimactic predictability of the end made this film appear worse, for its contrast with its engaging, quality beginning and middle.

Because I really liked the beginning and middle. At the outset, we're given a sparse, dustbowl backdrop, of the rusting hulks of metal constructions fallen into disrepair and lack of use: a perfect metaphor. Logan, the protagonist, is no longer an adamantium-enhanced superhero but an alcoholic chauffer, hiding Patrick Stewart's frail but highly-prized Professor Charles Xavier in a collapsed water tower. Stephen Merchant of The Office makes a surprise but suitable turn as Logan's geeky co-habitant. It's a wonderfully dysfunctional set-up, made more so by the introduction of a mysterious young girl with Logan-like powers who never talks, her guardianship passed to them. Logan thus has his reluctant mission, to get her to a mythic Eden for mutants over the border in Canada. The film becomes a road-trip, funny and melancholic, the repartee between the Professor and Logan the highlight of the film, the father-daughter dynamic between Logan and the girl sometimes hilariously surreal.

Why do I feel disappointed? It's a logically-structured film in terms of plot, with a beginning, middle and end that fit together. It has a 'Chekhov's gun' introduced at the beginning and ultimately used in a way that fits. The film never feels preachy or contrived, unlike the dreadful Captain America: Civil War. Jackman performs his part as a wasted former hero with a believable range of pissed-off emotions, and he makes the most of this perfect vehicle for him. Stewart nails his part as an aging wheelchair-bound father/grandfather, quirky, eccentric, humane, switching from world-weary regret to playful don't-care. The little girl is likeably enigmatic. When they stop over with a rural family, the film reaches its peak. And then . . .

Logan's nemesis, who appears halfway through, is as much metaphor as character. Sadly, it's a little bit too close to the Batman-Bane dynamic, a battle between the hero and his two-dimensional inner-demons. I get why they chose this nemesis, but I also found it dissatisfying for a film with so much gentle humour and prior subtlety.

Like Logan's joining of the X-Men, then, I entered this screening with suspicion and cynicism, was then surprised and entranced for much of the journey. But I left the cinema with an empty sensation that it wasn't quite what it should have been, even if it was for me one of the most humane superhero movies I've seen, and proof for the superhero genre that less is often much, much more.
Kong: Skull Island 16.03.17
Certain Women 07.03.17


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Friday, 25 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...