What if an alien in the future stumbled upon James Mangold’s Logan? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film:
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant
Director: James Mangold
Production Co: Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey (http://www.ryanhaileydotcom.com/)
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
Logan’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Logan, starring jacked human Hugh Jackman, a huge actor playing his most famous role for the final time until Les Miserables 2: More Miserables ate s*** at the box office and he went back to Marvel for two cameos a year for the rest of his life.
The film takes place 12 years into Donald Trump’s presidency, when mutated humans were dying out and everything was made of sand. Wolverine is old and can’t heal too good, so he’s not allowed to use his cool nickname anymore. He’s such a dork that he’s still close with one of his high school teachers, who has inexplicably outlived everyone even though he was crazy old to begin with.
Logan meets a nurse who wants him to take a young girl named Laura to the Garden of Eden, which Bible enthusiasts know was located in North Dakota. The nurse is killed by a robot arm guy, but Logan, Xavier, and Laura decide not to get killed by him. Later, they find a video on the nurse’s Samsung Galaxy Note — a video she apparently found time to get professionally edited while she was on the run — that reveals Laura is a mutant created from Logan’s deoxyribonucleic acid, also known as jizz.
They go eat dinner at a random farmer’s house, but then a Wolverine clone shows up and starts slashing up the place like a Guns N Roses concert. Logan manages to hold him off and escape with Laura’s alive body and Xavier’s dead body. Speaking of which, Xavier dies, spoiler alert.
Logan and Laura finally arrive at the Garden of Eden, which isn’t a garden so much as a hut on a cliff. Also, it’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and a bunch of child mutants! Nevertheless, they’re just about to head off to Canada for poutine and crumpets when some scientists show up to do the whole “explain your evil plan” routine. Logan tires of this trope, so he blows his load before the other guy can finish.
The Wolverine clone impales Logan with a big stick sticking out of another stick, and then Laura counters with some clone repellent. Logan tries to pull a Rogue One and have every character die, but Laura takes the opposite approach, heading north in search of universal healthcare.
Logan pits the titular hero against his most powerful enemy yet: real life. Logan struggles with all the issues an ordinary middle-aged Earthling male might face. He must care for a mentally debilitated father figure who’s disappointed in him for X-Men Origins. He’s developed arthritis and doesn’t bounce back the way he did in his 120s. And perhaps most typical of his mid-life crisis, he wants to buy a watercar.
Where some previous X-Men films explore the social ostracization the mutants experienced as an allegory for gayness, the alienation Logan and Xavier suffer here is due to the inevitable march of time, something felt by beings of all 557 sexual orientations. They have lost their friends and loved ones, and the world has moved on without them, much like I moved on without my first family. By showing our familiar superheroes suffering the indignities of growing old, the film’s inescapable message is that all things must come to an end, even when they’re dripping with 90s nostalgia.
The film borrows themes of redemption and rumination from Westerns, and it won’t give those themes back without a fight. The most prevalent reference is the movie Shane, which tells the story of a dude who protects a bunch of other dudes from a bad guy dude, then leaves because it’s more poetic that way.
Logan’s journey of self-reflection is played out through Laura and the clone. The clone shares only Logan’s violent qualities, and none of his human traits like sarcasm and being a dick. Thus, when Logan fights him, he is in essence battling the parts of himself he wants to leave behind like I left behind my second family. Laura also shares Logan’s genetic material — she is, in a sense, his daughter from another otter. As Laura was trained to be a killer, she initially reacts to any conflict with force. But since she’s just a wee bitty baby, she hasn’t gone far down the road Logan has travelled since the Grover Cleveland administration, volume one. Thus, if Logan can divert her from the path of violence, he can find redemption through her.
In the end, the path to Logan’s salvation — not to mention the studio’s bottom line — requires him to spill as much CGI blood as possible. Just as Shane dons the mantle of violence to protect the people he’s grown to appreciate, Logan takes the serum that turns him into a violent creature to protect the children he finds only moderately annoying. When he dies, Laura eulogizes him using Shane’s quote from the end of the film. Logan knows he can’t overcome his violent ways. He has to die so that the kids don’t turn out like him, one of the most beloved characters in comic book history. The cross, which became a symbol of sacrifice after Jesus started wearing one as a necklace, is turned to an X. This serves to put a period on the run-on sentence that is the X-Men franchise as its last hero is laid to rest. And since X marks the spot, it also suggests that Logan has actually been a treasure chest all along.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Please “X-it” through the gift shop.