This Took Longer Than It Should Have. I Apologize.
Maybe it has to do with the type of comics I grew up with.
Maybe it was the idea that heroes stood for more than themselves; heroes were a voice for people who couldn’t speak.
Maybe it was the escape it offered such that; whenever I was having a bad day, I could just reach for a comic – and like that, I’m gone away like so much magic dust. Maybe it is the realization that comics; like X-Men for instance, showed me a world where people were feared and hated just because they are different. A world freakishly like the one I live in.
Maybe it was the fact that I learnt the difference between a phrase and a clause; thanks to an Incredible Hulk comic.
Whatever the reason, I am a proud comic book lover.
Long before DC started to drop box office bombs with the frequency of a radio broadcast, I was discussing with a number of friends and wondering what it would be like when these guys came on to the screen. As a result, we/I watched EVERY on-screen adaptation of comic books, just to see if they lived up to the image the owners have consistently created in our/my head(s) for years.
Usually, there’s stuff to complain about. Very few movies have nailed it down – even the most ‘critically acclaimed’ of these movies get a whole lot wrong. And even judging them on their own merit; at worst they created a hot, fudgy mess (Dawn of Justice, any of the CW series), at best they create amazing stories (Netflix Daredevil, Batman Begins and so on).
Logan is one of the latter moments.
There was cause for concern; obviously. The first two Wolverine films were (even now I am shaking my head as I write this) just something to pass the time. I doubt I saw either of them more than twice, definitely not up to five time collectively. There just wasn’t anything to see – apart from a train roof fight sequence from the second one. Nothing.
Then Hugh Jackman teased this:
I wrote a piece then, talking about how I suspected they were going to adapt the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, or at least come pretty close. The biggest issue with adapting that would be the fact that it was a universe-wide event; even though it happened in a Wolverine story, it affected multiple characters; characters 20th Century Fox do not have rights to. I really wanted to see how they would play that.
I mean considering what they did with Civil War…
I saw Logan twice before attempting to put anything down about it, and this was the first and only post I made concerning that film:
I will not be writing a review of Logan – simply because I don’t have anything new to bring to the conversation. I will, however be writing a treatise on why it’s one of the most important superhero films ever made.
There was only one scene that made me unable to control the waterworks from my eyes; even though there was a girl I was trying to impress present.
No, it wasn’t the fact that Logan was dying; anybody who’s watched more than five movies should have seen that coming. People like Wolverine don’t get to retire peacefully. Their deaths have to be as violent as their lives (you’d understand better if you’ve seen Shane or actually listened to that part in the hotel room scene).
He had to die.
What made me cry; what shook me to my fibre was when the not-so-little little girl said, “Daddy…”
Forget that she was built in a lab. Forget that she’s killed more people than you’ve had orgasms (wellllllllllll). Forget that she’s a violent, half-animal, I-can-talk-but-would-rather-stay-mute-cos-that’s-way-cooler, murdering mutant. In that moment, she was just a child about to lose her father.
And that, is the type of pain no healing factor, no matter how heightened, can heal.
One of the pieces I read after the second viewing said ‘Logan is the Batman Begins of the Marvel Universe’ and I agree completely. What both films have in common is that they brought superheroes to our level. ‘Begins and Logan were not ‘superhero’ films, they were films that had a couple of superheroes in them. In other words, the story/plot/progression wasn’t based on superpowers, these are stories that could happen to anyone; the characters just happened to be heroes.
Take away Christian Bale’s costume and gadgets. Remove Logan and Laura’s claws and healing factors. Would we still have stories? Yes; with minor adjustments. For example, in Logan, we wouldn’t have Reavers chasing Laura and the other kids because they were mutants, they might just be child-traffickers trying to catch some runaway kids some high-end clientele have paid for. Bruce Wayne could just have been some guy who wants to clean his city, a well-trained martial artist. The crime had a human face; Falcone, even the ‘super villain’ Scarecrow was just an insane doctor.
Ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances. Just like you and me.
Logan is a fitting end to Jackman’s run as Wolverine; he has never been better and I doubt he can ever be. Patrick Stewart was at his telepathic finest even with his mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s (see the irony?) and the new girl, Laura aka X-23 was just…
In all the many, many mortalities in all the X Men films, none of them hit me like the death of Logan. Not because he’s my favorite X Man (well, till they find a perfect Gambit) but because it was human. This was not a superhero, mutant, claw-popping, accelerated healing factor rocking guy dying; this was just an old man who happened to have lived too long.
In fact, I was kinda happy for Logan.
Finally, he’s going to rest. I mean, he has the burden of outliving EVERYONE he’s ever cared about. He’s lost his one excuse for sticking around; Professor Xavier, so his life pretty much had no purpose from then on. Finally, this lonely and grumpy old man will have peace.
But, he had a daughter.
Someone who knows she was built in a lab finds out she has some kind of tie to humanity; she has a father. A father who denies paternity – but a father nonetheless. And when, just when he’s finally accepted she’s a part of him –
They kill him.
Even now, putting down these words that have been hovering in my head for almost two months, my eyes still smart. Finally, an X Men movie I can not only enjoy; but relate to. Themes of friendship, responsibility, purpose, destiny keep going on, over and over.
And then, when you consider I have a little girl of mine…
As far as I’m concerned, Logan is a movie that belongs in the ‘How To Make A Superhero Movie’ corner of libraries, film schools – and whoever else archives stuff like that. Me?
I’m just thankful I’m alive to see stuff like this.
Now, who has some tissue?
A few hours ago, I was a geek again – if only for a few minutes.
The first trailer for the ‘final’ Wolverine movie (final in that this will be Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as the guy) was leaked released. And I can say; if the trailer is anything to go by, Logan will be Hugh Jackman’s legacy – as far as Wolverine goes.
The trailer was somewhat disappointing; up till now I thought it was going to be an adaptation of the Old Man Logan storyline. Written by Mark Millar, it tells the story of an aged Wolverine who doesn’t use his claws anymore after accidentally slaughtering all his teammates. The world has become run over by villains; and several characters appear in the story. That should have been the first red flag; FOX only has rights to the mutants.
One thing that has been conspicuously lacking in all the X-Men/Wolverine films is we do not actually get to know the character. Sure, we’ve witnessed how he became Wolverine (X Men Origins: Wolverine), how Sabre-tooth is actually his half-brother and how he killed his real and illegitimate father, groundskeeper of the Howlett household, Thomas Logan. We see how he and his half-brother become estranged because of said brother’s blood-thirst, we see how he quits and tries to live a normal life – we see how that works out.
And then, we see all the tragedy in the X Men movies (the deaths in The Last Stand seemed more like jokes to me), and how, after being forced to kill his one great love, Jean Grey (ala The Last Stand) he gets lost in the Australian mountains, living like an animal again while trying to forget her (The Wolverine). He falls in love again – but as usual, that one too is not meant to be.
The comics actually have a different and way sadder ending for that one.
Now, in spite of appearing in every X-Men movie and two of his, most of the details of his long, violent and unhappy life have been skimmed over. Wolverine has been around for a long time; he actually fought beside Captain America in the second World War. So basically we have a guy who has watched a lot of friends and lovers die; he has killed quite a few himself. Consider too; the first half of his life is a mystery to him, the final scene of Origins has him drinking in a bar, and the following conversation ensues with a barmaid:
Barmaid: What are you drinking to forget?
Wolverine: I’m drinking to remember.
You can imagine.
The movies glamorized the guy; made him tall (Wolverine is actually 5ft, 3in), a lot less dark and definitely less sexy. Considering that the comic version has slept with virtually EVERY female X Man, I have to say, the movie version is quite bland.
But then, the third solo movie is around the corner and I’m excited. I’m seeing a Wolverine whose healing factor is no longer as potent, a Wolverine now running around with another of his kids, a clone originally known as X-23 and then Laura Kinney, a female clone of his. The movie takes a number of liberties with the Wolverine mythos – like having Laura created in the future instead of now.
I know a trailer’s but a glimpse, but this looks to me to be Hugh’s finest performance as the ‘Ol’ Canucklehead’. This Wolverine looks world-weary; he looks like he’s about to fall over and die. He drinks a lot more, is untidy and ‘careless’.
But he willingly looks after Professor X who ironically has Alzheimer’s.
Isn’t life just somehow?
I’m really looking forward to the movie, and I hope Hugh finally justifies the role that made him a mega-star.
Logan in theaters March 3rd 2017.
What do you know about me?
Really – what do you know?
Unbreakable claws, unstoppable rage
Most of you think I should be locked in a cage
What do you know?
What do you know of nights drinking blood
Of friends, enemies – blood of my brood
What do you know about living through wars and wars?
What do you know about millions of scars?
What do you know?
My life, your entertainment
You didn’t ask for this
But you need it; you’ll admit
Where would your screens be without me?
I’m that monster you lovingly hate/hatefully love
The one you keep your kids from
The one from your heart you drove
Left all alone in this world to roam
I must not have feelings; you think
Because at trouble you’ve never seen me blink
Killing people I love is like a way of life
Watched them die; from friends to wives…
I mean wife.
I swear I don’t remember
I’ve lost count too many times
Claws scratched too many rhymes; too many lines
Too many eulogies to murdered relationships
Amazing healing factor
Watch wounds close without leaving a scratch
But some wounds never heal – some never close
What to do? Never allow another person get close
But can a man change what he is?
Born of love, for love, to love
Made to kill
I would to will
But a man can’t change what he is
Pennies for my thoughts, pens for my words
Made again in this world, make history of love
And fight on I will
With a pen or keyboard or claws
Or a heart…
Too tattered to love
But strong enough to hope