Logan (2017) – “The end of an era.”
*Mild spoilers ahead*
I’m going to start off by saying I didn’t grow up reading comic books. They were and still are expensive and neither of my parents were into them. So I don’t know the source material well, and I don’t know every origin story, and yes, I wasn’t a fan from the start. But when I was in grade four in 2007 and puberty started happening to me before most of my class, I became the “weird girl”. I liked to read instead of playing tag, I watched shows that were maybe too mature for me, and I started watching movies. A lot of movies. That’s when I discovered X-Men (2000) and all its subsequent films. I so wanted to be a “mutant” who could levitate objects and read people’s minds and other cool stuff. Because the weird kids always get the cool powers, right? Sadly, no. But I still hoped. X-Men started it all for me, my super hero movie obsession, my merchandise collecting, and even my very desire to watch movies on the big screen.
So you can only imagine how sad I was when it was announced that Hugh Jackman would be retiring from the role of Wolverine along with Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X. It never occurred to me that it could end. Because who else could be the kick-ass Logan and the savior of child mutants Charles Xavier? I was so heartbroken by the news that I just had to see the movie as soon as possible. And I finally did. I cried. Multiple times. It was the perfect swan song and an end that both characters deserved.
Logan is the first R rated movie in the X-Men franchise unless you count Deadpool. I was worried that there would be too many unnecessary nude scenes and too much CGI violence. I was wrong. I’m no expert on special effects, but it didn’t feel like I was watching a CGI spectacle. It felt real. It felt dark and heavy and heartbreaking. It was new and original. With no origin stories in the way, I was immersed in the story straight away. And I didn’t blink for fear of missing something.
And when the movie introduced Laura, a child mutant who shares Wolverine’s powers and DNA, I couldn’t help but feel like that ten year old kid again. I wanted to be her! Well maybe not exactly like her but I remembered what I wanted to be. I ended up rooting for her and for all her other fellow mutant children. Dafne Keen did a great job portraying a scared, angry, and violent kid who also longs for Logan’s affection and to be part of a family. With all her yelling and fighting I felt the urge to just cuddle up with her with some hot cocoa and tell her it’s all going to be okay. Her sad start in life made me feel hopeful that maybe, just maybe, I was going to get a happy father/daughter ending.
The movie has a slower pace than most superhero movies, probably to match the aging body of our hero. And with Logan protecting and caring for the girl, you see a softer, more parental side to him. Jackman did a great job of not making it too sentimental and sappy. And Patrick Stewart’s version of Xavier who was reflecting on his life and suffering from some neuro-degenerative disease hit close to home. It was a superhero movie that didn’t feel like a superhero movie.
I was also left with questions: Does having these new mutant children mean that there will be more X-Men movies based on them? It makes sense. Why stop when the franchise has proven that all its movies, even the not so good ones, make money? Is it safe to hope that there will be more? Please let the answer be yes.
This movie marked an end of an era, for me and for countless others. A great end for two beloved characters. And fingers crossed that if ever they do try to re-cast them (which would be way too difficult because they’re already perfect), it’s not a giant disappointment.