While the blog has been a bit overtaken by Disney posts in the last week I want to take a moment to talk about a different beauty and a different beast… Logan. Yep, the movie all about Wolverine when he’s old. I watched it this past weekend, and while I don’t have a lot of complaints, it left me wanting more.
I wonder if I’d feel that way if I were just a casual viewer, instead of a fangirl and comic reader with more background and high expectations.
Warning, spoilers below!
So, again I’ll start by saying that as someone who has collected X-Men comics (starting with #142.. yes part two of Days of Future Past was literally my first comic EVER) I enjoyed Logan.
I think that I had I not spent a couple nights previous, sobbing like Claire Danes in Homeland over both the live-action Beauty and the Beast, and Act II of Hamilton, I likely would have had the emotional capacity to weep during Logan when…
Did I mention spoilers?!?! This is seriously your last warning.
…Xavier died, or when Logan died, and I probably would have at least teared up when Logan tells Laura that (and yeah I’m paraphrasing) bad things happen to the people he cares about and she replies “Then I’ll be fine”.
I mean this was a movie (and story) designed to wrap things up in a way that tells the viewer that we (or at least mutants) live in a terrible world, where they catch no breaks and no chance at normalcy and then they die painfully, at best for some greater good. Oh, and if you’re someone who unknowingly helps mutants, you’re likely to die with them. I mean who really thought that the nice family was going to live through the night? Had they lived it might have presented an alternative lifestyle for Laura and Logan (or at least Laura by the end of the film).
But no, their deaths just solidified for Laura that survival is only for the evolved and ruthless, which is one of the best (story-wise) parts of the film for me. Here’s a child who has known no childhood and never will. For me, the saddest part of the film was just watching her on the mechanical horse, knowing that any thoughts of make-believe would be fleeting and for her pointless.
But emotions aside, part of why I connected to these characters was because of the comics. Had I only ever watched the X-Men films (even the newer ones… though don’t get me started on Days of Future Past) I’m not sure that I would have cared so much about Caliban or Laura for that matter. Sure, we got enough exposition to tell us a bit about Caliban’s background, and Laura being created in a facility to be weaponized is sad.
I wonder though, how many viewers would have liked more about Caliban, or more about how and why genetically modified corn was helping to maintain control over how many mutants were born. Would creating a connection with Laura be enough to make audiences care about possible the end of mutant kind?
The film made it seem like they’d all just died off by 2029, but it just feels ridiculous, and without the back story from the comics (of Wolverine slaughtering all of the X-Men because of Mysterio) the film just makes him seem lonely instead of damaged.
Instead all of the damage is put on Xavier, and while it is depressing to see someone once so capable in such a deteriorated state, the film is about Logan and Charles did little to aid in Logan’s character development, beyond being the plot device that makes Logan commit to helping Laura.
As a side note, I didn’t love the villains. They were just lacking some level of fear and cunning. Despite the fire power, anything short of X-24 just seemed completely non-threatening (and major kudos to Jackman for playing both Logan and X-24 so well). And I did love the fight scenes. They were spectacularly graphic, without feeling gratuitous… basically they stayed just shy of a Tarantino film.
Finally, I both loved and hated when the film makers knocked on (without breaking down) the fourth wall, by saying that the comics had it all wrong, and were exagerated or just made up. I mean, sure it was a great way to spin an alternative canon, however, as a comic book reader I raised an eye brow and momentarily pouted into my popcorn.
Maybe the problem is me though? Maybe Logan was just for fans, instead of fanboys (or in my case fangirls) Maybe I should enjoy the movies as just alternate stories to enjoy, separate from their source material, but if I were able to do that I’d still be left with all my thoughts about the things they left out, and wishing for more. I mean sure, we’ve seen Wolverine in countless films (wait, that’s a lie, I can count to nine, he’s been in nine X-Men films), but did we ever really see how he went from this to that:
Yes, it’s obvious he aged, but what wasn’t obvious was the emotional transition or motivation without the comics. Again, I’m willing to accept that maybe I expected too much, and again, maybe I’d just felt too many feels after Beauty and the Beast and Hamilton. Logan was well done movie, it just didn’t tug hard enough at my heartstrings, despite an awesome performance by Hugh Jackman.
What did you think about Logan? Let us know in the comments.