In a departure from what has been the norm, let’s not talk about games too much this week. I’m still playing Forza Horizon 1 and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. I may be done with Horizon soon but Berserk has a lot of meat there. A lot of bloody, bloody meat. So instead let’s talk about Logan and try to keep away from spoilers, because no one should be that asshole. Is there a support group for people that have seen Logan? I feel there should be. We knew this wasn’t going to be a happy movie. You can’t play Johnny Cash during your trailer and leave any pretense that it’s going to be a happy story. Even so I didn’t really expect a movie that felt more like an adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy book than a comic book.
I’m familiar with the X-Men and many of the story arcs, but I’ve never been a mega-fan of the comics. I feel (sort of like I did with Hulk) that they have two or three story lines and they just kind of swap those out every so often. It’s either mutants vs mutants (with different ideology), mutants vs medicine (a cure or a virus), or mutants vs the government (registration or incarceration). About every story inevitably ends up along one of those lines. Logan shares that, with a little bit of the government and a little bit of medicine, but it doesn’t define it. Even as part of that plot comes to a head with Dr. Rice, you have that “oh” moment and then you get back to what is happening with Logan and Professor X. The struggle of Logan and Professor X, who have over the years become the foundation of the X-Men, and their place in this world not too far in the future is what really carries the movie. It takes what you know of the characters, just tears them down, and breaks your heart in the process.
It’s been in the news and most everyone is aware that this was Jackman’s last outing as Wolverine. Patrick Stewart has also now said he’s finished as Professor Xavier. Both have done great in their roles even when the movies were not so great. Logan seems to be a film built for closure, both for the characters and the actors portraying them. The other point that was well documented in the news leading up to release was that this would be the first R-rated Wolverine movie. I’m glad they went this route as the movie version of Wolverine has always felt a little restrained, but not to the point that he was a different character. Just kid friendly. It was a little jarring at first hearing Jackman drop the F-bomb like he was trying to get caught up to quota for all the other movies. Even Patrick Stewart gets in a little “shit” here and there. Most importantly though, with the R-rating the restraints on the claws were definitely off. The brutality you always knew was there or may have been implied before is front and center. It doesn’t feel like a departure so much as it again feeds in to this struggle Logan is facing. It fits that the more hopeless the fight the more brutal his efforts become.
There’s been some talk about the ending and I’m absolutely not going to dig in to details there, but everything isn’t wrapped up in a nice, neat little package. Director James Mangold has said that was intentional because that’s life. You don’t always know what happens at the end of the day, or tomorrow. There’s an ending and an openness there that to me, if nothing else, keeps them from having to make a movie to undo it like Days of Future Past did for X-3. The last hoorah of the X-Men is everything they promised. I don’t expect we’ll see anything from that timeline again soon, but it’s possible.