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‘Logan’ lacking in back story

Mar 15 • Kelsey Ghering, Opinion • 498

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I grew up on the X-Men movies. While I was never a comic book reader or a cosplay artist, they seemed to be the most realistic set of superheroes out there.
But it was “Wolverine Origins” that made me pick a favorite character and I learned to love Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine (Logan).
It seems only natural, then, that when Jackman announced he would be playing the character one last time in “Logan,” I resolved to go see it.
I came out of the theater feeling emotionally destroyed. I did expect a tragic ending, but director James Mangold delivered elements I wasn’t prepared for.
Like a living Charles Xavier – played brilliantly as usual by Sir Patrick Stewart. One of the biggest flaws in the X-Men franchise is its refusal to commit to one timeline. Xavier dies in “Last Stand,” but “Days of Future Past” allowed him to return for “Logan.”
Here, Professor X is trying to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. While Mangold pulls our hearts for empathy in the professor’s case, there’s also a comedic element to his disease that I did not know how to treat.
This is one of the only movies in the series where Xavier is swearing and performing little bouts of slapstick comedy, like when Logan asks him to show him he swallowed his seizure medication and he responds by sticking out his tongue.
It may have been written in to offer a reprieve from the violence that follows for the rest of the movie, but it seemed out of place for Xavier’s character. Even if it was meant to show a regression of his mind, it seemed overdone.
And that’s how I felt for a good chunk of the movie. Mangold was riding the line between action comic book film and overdone. Early on, security leaders from the Alkali- Transigen biotechnology company find a washed-up Wolverine living with Xavier and an escapee from the X-23 project, later known as Laura, and an adrenaline-filled chase ensues through the desert compound the mutants are living in.
Logan takes his Chrysler limo that he drives for Uber through the fence and then over railroad tracks, barely missing a train and the clutches of Alkali- Transigen. From that point, the movie is a grueling witch hunt with X-Men vs. Transigen.
When the professor’s antics with Logan die down, Mangold fills frames with gory fight scenes, like Laura’s repeated stabbing of Transigen soldiers with her adamantium claws.
But much of this violence is counteracted with more poignant scenes, like when Logan explains to Laura she will have to live with the fact she killed people, even if they were bad.
While the other Wolverine movies separate him from other X-men characters, bringing back Xavier was a cruel tease. That and the characters’ neglect to so much as even mention the old team made them seem empty.
I think that’s what “Logan” was missing. It was a deserving tribute to the legendary Wolverine, but it was a totally different flavor compared to its counterparts. Maybe I’m still lamenting the fact Jackson really is finished playing Wolverine, but wanting consistency in a series isn’t a crime either.

KELSEY GHERING

ghering001@knights.gannon.edu

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