Warning: Spoilers ahead.
A story of loneliness
Logan, the last Wolverine installment portrayed by Hugh Jackman, may seem like your ordinary superhero (or more appropriately, mutant) story at first glance.
A picture portrays a thousand words, however.
We can discuss how strong or well-built for an old man Logan was in the film; we can even talk about how awesome it is that he’s still Wolverine after all these years. But for a change, let’s discuss a more humanistic side of the story.
In Logan’s case, there’s a lot to say about his story of loneliness. Much of the film is comprised of him simply trying to live what’s left of his life, trying to rid himself of what keeps him from death and getting ultimately frustrated in the process. No mutant has ever wanted to intentionally die so badly, and it’s such an apt characteristic that Logan, of all people, could be expected to have. What with his raw, impatient, and grumpy nature, to be what’s left of a seemingly extinct species would probably get frustrating at some point — imagine being one of the only living human beings in a world that wants to ‘contain’ your kind!
His cynical thinking is also a huge contribution to his intent to die, claiming that he doesn’t want to be involved with others anymore because bad things happen to them all the time. (News flash, Logan: bad things happen to people all the time, regardless of whether or not you care about them.)
It was only when everything that seemed to keep him going — his friends, job, money — disappeared that it suddenly all clicked. Logan being Logan, everything had to hit rock bottom for life to get across his stubbornness.
Funny enough, sometimes that’s what we need to get some sense into us.
We need to lose everything we hold dear, everything that keeps us going and gives us purpose on a daily basis, to come to terms in asking what we really stay alive for. Yes, philosophical, existential and whatnot, but in the film the message was clearly cut across the moment Logan rejected the $20,000 he wanted. The money he was so desperate to have suddenly didn’t seem so important upon realizing there was nobody left for him to use that money for. It took a while for him to realize this, all while being in denial that Laura was an important turning point, but the message was solidified after losing other kind-hearted people showing him that it’s not the end of the world just because everything is not going according to plan. And sometimes, consequences need to be faced to be reminded that the decisions we make not only affect ourselves but also those around us. Logan had to be reminded that he was not as lonely as he thought but at the price of others’ lives.
Not for the fainthearted
Figuratively and literally, don’t watch this film if your heart is on the sensitive side. (I teared up at the end. Major spoiler, hey now.)
“So this is what it feels like,” is the one line that hit me so hard. One simple line to let the audience know that everything Logan — Charles, Caliban, Laura, everyone else — went through did not end in vain. It’s an open-ended phrase that didn’t need to be ended.
Logan finally knew what it felt like to feel cared for and to feel the same care towards someone apart from himself, and to me that is the biggest conflict he had to face. The other conflict is having to save the kids and the mutant race from extinction and further experimentation by human beings, but that’s a different story discussed in the latter part of this write-up.
On a more literal side, you know how the film was rated it R-16? Well, it’s rated R-16 for a reason.
Violence is the major theme of the movie, with up close scenes of unabashed slicing and even self-harm (please be careful in bringing minors and vulnerable audiences when viewing) readily inserted so abundantly. I would not recommend the underaged to watch this; I wouldn’t even recommend parents to bring their children with them, lest they are not ready to be of absolute guidance.
I must admit, it has been a while since I’ve seen a movie this shocking. And by shocking, I mean it escaped me that brutality, knifing, lacerations, and a whole ton of blood are still a patronized collective for pop culture themes. Now, this doesn’t mean the movie should be seen in a negative light — it shouldn’t be. As with any other form of entertainment, the excessive use of shocking factors is acceptable as long as a solid storyline is in play. And Logan has a storyline, that I can assure you of.
Staying true to its nature
Beyond Logan, Charles undeniably played a very important part in reiterating the importance of mutants. X-Men wouldn’t be what it is if there weren’t togetherness and respect among each other, regardless of how different they may be.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched an X-Men film. I remember when the first few titles came out, starting from the 2000 hit of the same name, and how fascinated I was with its entirety. I’m not the biggest Marvel fan out there (my friends know I will fight for DC in a heartbeat) but growing up, I watched the animated series of X-Men (a few of the original series and much heavily of the Evolution series) and had my share of playing the Marvel vs Capcom arcade hits.
Imagine the wave of nostalgia and just heartwarming joy upon seeing the mutant kids being all together, standing up for each other, defending one another, and staying true to its nature of not leaving anyone behind. It traces its roots back to having each other’s backs when the rest of the world already sees you unfit of blending into society.
This is probably my favorite bit of the film — seeing these young mutants explore their abilities and accepting that they are not normal, that they don’t belong where ordinary humans do, and that it’s definitely okay to be the way they are.
That being said, this is clearly a moment where the torch has been passed. With Wolverine and Professor X, as well as Caliban removed from the franchise, it’s pretty obvious these younglings are whom we’ll be keeping an eye out for in the next X-Men films. And to say it’s exciting to see a new generation of mutants take over the next generation of audiences, is a light way of describing just how bright the future looks like for Marvel films.