Earlier this month, X-Men fans were treated to Logan, a Wolverine movie … without Wolverine. A sort of adaptation of the comic Old Man Logan (although more in tone than plot), the movie imagines a future where mutants are nearly all dead, and a barely hanging on Logan is low-key doing chauffeur work to take care of a decrepit Charles Xavier. When some bad guys go after a young girl named Laura suddenly in Logan’s care, the ex X-Man takes a road trip to get her to safety --- while killing a lot of people who get in their way.’
While some are comparing Logan to Deadpool, the other R-rated film starring a Marvel hero from the past year, we should be looking at its similarities to another superhero film from 2017 instead; The Lego Batman Movie.
Fans of X-Men who saw the latest two movies — Logan and last summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse — probably noticed something kinda weird about one recurring character. Despite offering no continuity or explanation as to why it happened this way, the mutant Caliban showed up in both, in Logan played by Stephen Merchant, and in Apocalypse by Thomas Lemarquis. Despite a bit of an accent on Lemarquis’ part, they both looked mostly the same: albino, weird eyes, bald. There was just a weird lack of continuity, and James Mangold recently explained why.
Gabriel Hardman is a writer and artist you might know from Invisible Republic, Kinski and Planet of the Apes, but you might not know that he's also an accomplished storyboard artist, having worked on Inception, Superman Returns and most recently, Logan.
Over at his Twitter account, Hardman has been posting several of his Logan storyboards from pivotal scenes in the movie, and not only do they look gorgeous, but they also show how important a talented storyboard artist is in establishing a film's visuals.
When you learn about writing, there’s one mantra that you’ll hear over and over: Kill your darlings. Sometimes, the only way to make a scene in a book or a paragraph in an article work best is to take out the part of it you love the most, just because hanging onto it isn’t worth the clunkiness it creates. The same is true for film, and oftentimes directors will have to take out really great scenes because they don’t work with the flow of the rest of the movie. Logan is pretty seamlessly put together, but even James Mangold ran into that problem once or twice. He revealed that there was a tribute to Wolverine’s fellow X-Man Jean Grey in the middle of the movie that he had to cut for story reasons. [Some SPOILERS follow for Logan, so if you haven’t seen it yet, run far away.
Logan is the conclusion Hugh-Jackman-as-Wolverine’s story deserves, and it’s one that fans of the character have been waiting for for quite a while. The other two solo Wolverine movies weren’t exactly well-received, although one could make an argument for the quality of 2013’s The Wolverine — you know, the one where he goes to Japan. As it turns out, the emotional, heartwrenching ending of Logan had been planned out ever since one key scene in The Wolverine. [The rest of this post contains SPOILERS for Logan — as in, I am going to tell you the ending. So if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know, do not keep reading.]
By now, everyone knows that Logan is Hugh Jackman’s last go-round as Wolverine. It’s tough to see him go — he’s arguably the protagonist of the original X-Men trilogy and was always a welcome presence in the new crop of movies, but he’s a big star now, and Logan is a tone-perfect way to round out his career as that character. Now, the question becomes: who, if anyone, will take his place? The X-Men series will still continue for at least one more movie, and there are a number of spinoffs in the works, so Wolverine will have to reappear somehow, right?
There’s a lot that goes into making a movie that’s easy to take for granted. Every shot requires a ton of work behind the scenes in post-production to get the color and sound and everything else just right, which sometimes requires actors to come back for key scenes. No, I’m not talking about dreaded reshoots, I’m talking about ADR — automated dialogue replacement. And the ADR for Logan was… well, it was something else.
Logan is, first and foremost, a Wolverine movie. It’s also a western, a poignant character study, a story of a man reconciling with the inevitable, and a really great farewell for Hugh Jackman — and also maybe Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. Like the titular hero, Charles Xavier is quite different when we meet him again in Logan, haunted by a mysterious incident that is never fully explained, much to the film’s benefit. Director James Mangold would agree, as he’s revealed that the original script didn’t just allude to the incident, it actually showed it, which would have made for a much different film.
Logan is understandably geared toward saying goodbye to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine moreso than Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, but there’s a certain finality to this chapter of the X-Men universe regardless. Stewart in particular is open to the idea of returning for a Deadpool sequel, but perhaps more pressingly, now says he’d be willing to drop by FX’s Legion.
My recent list of the most dated parts of the original X-Men movie included things like Hugh Jackman’s comparatively non-huge, non-jacked-man physique, Wolverine’s non-stop smoking, and the heroes’ black leather costumes. The list also included the relative lack of Easter eggs; even with about ten major roles in the film, the first X-Men movie is, at least by contemporary standards, a small movie. There’s no sense of a wider Marvel Universe beyond the edges of the frame, there’re few appearances by (or references to) other mutants, and there’s no post-credits scene to tease future films. It is a movie unto itself.
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