What’s cooler than a mutant who fights bad guys with metal claws that jut out of his hands?
A little girl who does the exact same thing, but even better.
Marvel’s new movie, “Logan”, which came out March 3 2017, features characters we know and love from previous X-Men movies and comics, like the title character Logan (Hugh Jackman), A.K.A. Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart), and Caliban (Stephen Merchant), but also introduces new characters—in fact, a new generation of young mutants.
Director James Mangold said he wanted to do something more than the cliché superhero movie, something that “honoured Wolverine’s comic book roots,” according to an interview in the Toronto Sun. Exciting fight scenes, beautiful cinematography, and A+ acting convinced me to overlook the overuse of blood and gore that seems to be a staple in action movies. Ultimately, “Logan” was an experience greater than the sum of its parts, and an example of how superhero movies can rise above the expectations of the genre.
If you don’t want to be spoiled, click away now. And trust me, you don’t want to be spoiled.
What makes a good superhero movie is the balance of the protagonist’s inhuman and human qualities. Too often a hero’s supernatural powers are glorified and they become unrelatable to an audience. No one wants to sit in a theater and have their inadequacies mocked by a flawless fictional character for two-and-a-half hours.
“Logan” digs deeper than the classic superhero movie by focusing on Logan’s humanity, while also painting his inhuman power in flawed light. His mutant abilities enable him to hurt other people, both physically and emotionally, and often he can’t control them. At the start of “Logan” in the year 2029, all of the other mutants are supposedly gone, and Logan just wants is to live out the remainder of his quiet life with Professor Xavier and Caliban until the sickness eating at his insides finally wins out.
But when he’s told that he has a daughter named Laura, played by Dafne Keen, who is the same kind of mutant as himself, his sense of responsibility—with a little encouragement from Xavier—takes him on one final adventure to bring her across the North Dakota border to a safe haven in Canada called Eden.
Throughout the film, Logan struggles with the decaying adamantium poisoning his body; what once gave him great strength is now his greatest weakness. This sickness is personified by a clone of Logan created by Transigen—part of the company that created Wolverine—who version of himself that bests him at every turn. At the end of the movie, Logan proves his humanity by sacrificing himself to save the lives of the next generation of mutants, including Laura.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry during the last scene when Laura said her final goodbye to her father’s grave and marked it with a wooden cross, which she symbolically turns on its side to form an X. It is a fitting end for a heroic character, one who was not perfect, but perfectly human.
Although this is the apparent end of the OG X-Men generation, I am excited for the kids following in their footsteps. Laura is a bilingual ball of fire who is just as powerful as the Wolverine even though she’s just a child. In my opinion, Keen stole the show, and if the franchise continues with her as the lead, I’m positive X-Men fans will follow.
Don’t bother waiting around for the usual post-credits scene like I did. Mangold told the Sun “We were trying to make a movie that began and ended on its own terms,” which they absolutely did: “Logan” concluded with a sense of hope for the surviving young mutants and bittersweet closure for Wolverine fans.
First photo and trailer from 20th Century Fox.