Volume 6, Issue 9!
“The World of Logan”
SPOILERS (For real, this article is one big spoiler for Logan, proceed at your own risk!)
By now you probably are all aware of my thoughts on Logan, the final movie to star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (if you didn’t, read my review. I’ll wait). It’s a superbly haunting movie that stays with you, and gets better the more you see it. Director James Mangold and Hugh Jackman crafted the perfect send off for Wolverine, and created a film that simply couldn’t be done at any other point in the X-Men franchise’s history.
Much of that success stems from crafting a future world that is very much a possibility for us. Comparisons have been popping up to films like No Country for Old Men and Children of Men, something that I think are not only apt comparisons, but ones that were a direct choice by Mangold. The near future of Logan is one full of interesting and seemingly great advancements, but they all have a rundown and broken look to them. The automated trucks that deliver food and other products may sound like a great idea, until you realize that they’ve cost jobs for people, as well as pose to be risks on the road (or are easily hacked if we’re to believe the farmers Logan and Xavier meet). Same can be said of foods and drinks that people consume, products that we soon learn are actually a form of gene therapy by Dr. Rice to not only eliminate dormant mutant genes, but allow him to pacify the public at large.
But as well as this futuristic work helps set the stage for Jackman’s final adventure, it’s something else added to this world that helps Logan achieve something no other comic book movie has, and it was one that I initially had some doubts about when I first heard of it. In Logan, the world knows about the X-Men through toys, merchandise, and even comic books. Yes, this is a world where there are comic books based on the “real” adventures of Logan and his teammates. Thanks to these stories, people have an idea of who Logan is, one that is very different from where the man is currently. In fact, Logan actively tries to dispute this false sense of his nobility and heroism multiple times throughout the movie. But eventually, Logan learns to embrace and realize his legacy and influence over a younger generation when he decides to help Laura and her friends make it to the Canadian border.
Amazingly, Logan translates the impact that comic books and comic book characters have on fans better than any comic book movie before it. Laura believes that her safety lies in reaching a destination in North Dakota, an idea that was planted in her from reading old X-Men comic books. Even though there’s no safe haven or “Eden” in North Dakota, Laura and the children who grew up in the facility with her created a place there because they believed in the stories they read. Laura and the other children from the Alkali program represent every child who grew up reading comics, or watching superhero cartoons, or playing with action figures. They’re the representation of how important these stories and characters are, and how inspiring they can be.
Like I mentioned in my review, this use of comics and merchandise is pretty Meta, but it works for Logan because it helps give fans of the character a connective tissue to the regular people who inhabit this world. It’s a beautiful way of acknowledging not only Jackman’s tenure as the character, but the longevity of Wolverine too. It’s an extremely bold and interesting idea, and a lot of credit goes to James Mangold for coming up with it. I had a feeling that Logan could be something special, but I had no idea how much it would resonate with how the world looks and feels right now, or that would resonate so deeply with comic book fans.
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