The X-Men film franchise has always been on the short end of the stick. It started too early when comic-to-movies weren’t taken too seriously. Not to mention, most of the X-Men movies have been dated (X-Men, X2) or ass (X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), if not forgettable (The Wolverine) with at least two films bordering on okay (X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse).
So far, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best thus far (that at least includes Wolverine). It doesn’t feel like a joke and builds on the success of the Avengers franchise.
Logan is just as good for different reasons.
At the very core of every X-Men film is the prejudice that exists between human and mutants. Their hatred stems from the human’s inability to understand the fabric of mutant existence and mutant’s predetermined path towards destruction, if not for their instinct to survive.
The X-Men sit on the fence to both arguments of which has merit. Both sides of the coin aren’t wrong, but it’s what they do about it that determines the moral ground on which they stand.
This theme is what frustrates me about the X-Men films. It’s always about breaking the preconception about mutants and helping humans understand that they aren’t all that bad, a premise that is a prelude to harmony. While the idea is sound and very applicable to a reality filled with hate-riddled ideologies, it is also a limiting narrative. The X-Men is trapped by its own devices and always deals with the same subject matter film in and out.
Logan gets rid all of that shit and settles on a different theme: death.
In the film, we see Logan 12-13 years from now, broken-down, old, and an Uber-like driver. It is not much of a departure from his usual wandering role, but at the get go, everything feels different. That’s because everyone else is dead – his mutant comrades killed off, a story which isn’t fully explained in the film. It is simply the nature of fighting the fight they’re in, but this time, the fight eventually caught up to them.
Logan is still alive but isn’t at the same time. All the things he stood for died along with the others.
The theme of mortality is prevalent in the film and dangles above you like a ten-ton hammer, just waiting for the right moment when it drops.
There are lots of poignant moments in the film, in particular how Logan, Professor X, and Laura met up with a family who lives on a farm. They spent the night there, a picture-perfect family who loves each dearly, just like the Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. But all of a sudden, everybody in the family gets killed.
It puts into perspective the wrath and destruction Logan put in harm’s way. He is a risk and liability, and everything he touches dies. Given his healing abilities, he has to deal with the consequences of what happened, whether it’s his fault or not.
It makes his relationship with her daughter Laura even more difficult to accept. The seemingly easiest way to deal with her is to walk away and prevent from endangering her like the way he did with the family. However, by leaving her alone, he is unable to protect her from harm. So Logan has to make a decision, which sets up for a pretty unforgettable climax that caps off Wolverine as one of the most beloved anti-heroes in film history.
Whether we like is or not, death is coming for us. Eventually, the candle runs out of wick and just flickers and sputters until it reaches the very end. What matters, therefore, is how we live our lives not just for ourselves but also for the people we love while we still can. Every day is a fight and we simply need to give it our best shot.
Also, so much blood.