So, there’s another X-Men film and it’s the third and final (apparently) appearance for Hugh Jackman’s iconic take on Wolverine.
For a man who has embodied an iconic comic book character for 15 years, it’s surprising that none of his solo films have been particularly well received. X-Men Origins: Wolverine Begins (that’s definitely the title) was not a good film, the most memorable aspect of which was the sacrilegious portrayal of Deadpool (since rectified). Wolverine: The Wolverine returns to Japan was more successful with a more character driven approach, but again it’s a forgettable film that turns very generic at the end. In fact, the X-Men franchise seems to only have about a 50% success rate. That being said, it’s widely accepted that Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine is one of the best things about the franchise. So will he get the swan song he deserves?
It bloody looks like it so far. Logan, directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, The Wolverine), is, it seems, a loose adaptation of Old Man Logan, a popular Wolverine comic book arc. It’s an almost post-apocalyptic future where superheroes are no more. Logan has retired the title of Wolverine until he’s forced back into action. Tonally, Logan looks very similar to this but we should expect major differences. Old Man Logan uses a lot of characters in the Marvel universe that are currently owned by, you guessed it, Marvel and not Fox. But we do have Patrick Stewart back as an even older Professor X and he looks to be the one guiding Logan though the wasteland. It looks as though here it’s the apocalypse for the mutants, rather than the superheroes. I mean, it’s even in this picture. Where the bloody hell are they?
The big question here is; what happened? How did the world get to a point where there are no more mutants and how long ago did that event happen? Given that Days of Future Past pretty much reset the X-Men timeline with The Last Stand effectively wiped from canon; how much has happened since that last scene in DoFP? It’s difficult to tell but Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart both look older than their usual selves. Considering you’d perhaps expect their ageing to be slowed by their mutant traits, particularly with Logan, it seems as if a significant amount of time has past since we saw Logan last.
It seems obvious, given the constant conflict between ‘humans’ and ‘mutants’, that maybe finally the humans got their way by managing to wipe out the mutants or a least drive them into hiding. Boyd Holbrook is rumoured to be playing Donald Pierce, a mutant hating cyborg so there’s a good chance he was involved in that. Speaking of new characters and we’ve got Stephen Merchant as Caliban, an X-Man with the ability to track other mutants. I’m guessing the bad guys are going to want to get a hold of him to hunt down any remaining stragglers, including Logan and a girl who is prominent in the trailer.
Now, who is she? All things point to her being X-23, a genetic clone of Wolverine. The strongest piece of evidence for this is the line Stewart’s Xavier says “she’s very much like you” and the shot in the trailer of Logan locking claws with another mutant. And pretty much everything else in the trailer. I’m guessing she’s on the run from her creator and Logan becomes her protector/ father figure. It all looks very ‘The Last of Us’ and that’s a great thing.
It looks very character and emotionally driven which is definitely a good thing. Logan’s a man who’s always, ironically given his ability to heal from any wound, been emotionally ‘broken’. It seems as though he’s feeling a significant amount of guilt throughout the trailer which begs the question; does he feel responsible for the mutant’s downfall? And if so, how? There’s also a funeral scene where he can be seen drinking in the foreground. In the beginning of the Old Man Logan comic he’s living with a family on a farm before they are murdered, is this their funeral?
Logan’s introduced to us here as a different character we’ve seen in the past. He’s got scars on his back, which should have healed, and the first shot is of his knuckles shaking. We’ve seen Logan at low points before but never this low. He’s truly broken, mentally and physically. At the end of each X-Men film previously you always got a bittersweet feeling regarding Logan. You never really feel that he’s at peace. Maybe his relationship with his ‘daughter’ will be the thing that finally brings him the peace he’s been looking for.
We can only hope…Logan, and Jackman, deserve it.
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