Sense of loss overwhelms me as I saw Logan, the last movie where Hugh Jackman will appear as Wolverine in Marvel’s X-men series, today. I will no more see Jackman donning the role of the mysterious and hotheaded Logan.
It is hard to let go of the character I have been seeing for over a decade as Wolverine. But when you see the movie, you know it is high time to let go. It was only because the movie was a fitting end to the role Jackman played for the past 17 years. It was only because, it was not the superhero I was letting go but the man called Logan, who has made peace with himself and decided to call it quits.
In the movie Logan is a limo driver and makes money driving rich people to funerals and casinos. He goes by James Howlett, his real name before he became a mutant. With his hair grey and sporting a limp, you could say fate has not been so kind to him.
If you are expecting the usual superhero-save-the-world kind of shit, you will not get it. May be that is why Logan is one of the best superhero movies I had seen till date. It is dark, dramatic and unapologetic about telling the story of a superhero, who is on the verge of breaking down and does not give a shit even if the world is coming to an end.
The movie set in 2029 starts with limping and aging Logan taking care of unstable Professor Charles Xavier, who is suffering from neurological disorder, with the help of another mutant Caliban. Mutants are almost extinct and there was no need for superheroes to save the world. Of course there are villains who would not let the hero alone. There is a group of researchers who are trying to create a new kind of mutant species, one without emotions and with the purpose to kill. Logan of course has to intervene and put an end to this.
Sounds like the usual story, does it not? But this is where it changes. Logan does not give shit about saving the world, but he gets back in action only to save his kin, his own daughter Laura, the byproduct of research. Again it was not out of love but out of obligation towards Xavier. The movie was intense and action packed. It pulls you in right from the first frame. There are no loose ends and had an amazing pace. Though I might warn you the director probably took a cue from Quentin Tarantino, for the movie leaves a bloody trail.
But what really sets the movie apart was the tone it set, which talks about the inevitable – aging and death. By exploring themes none of the Superhero movies ever touched, it set a benchmark for the future superhero movies. So far in most of the superhero movies I have seen, superheroes never age; always save the world from destruction; they are invincible; the world always needs a superhero.
But Logan was different. Logan spoke volumes about what happens to superheroes when they are no longer needed. In the movie, saving the world for decades wears Logan down. There is only him, Xavier and Caliban left. There is not a trace of mutants left of them in the world and not a bloody soul remembers them. When Logan says, “The world do not need us. We are extinct,” you realise the weight Logan carries, the weight of not having died and the weight of living through decades and not really having lived it. It weighs you, the viewer, down as well. It shows you vulnerable side of the heroes. You can see that he is aging. You see that he bleeds and does not heal like he used to. You can see the weariness in his eyes, which says, ‘I have had enough. Let me die.’ You know that he is dying.
But there are warm moments too, like when Logan, Professor X and Laura share a meal and laugh with a family in Oklahoma. It has been the longest time since they probably laughed. Professor X says, “You should savour being a part of warm home when you get a chance. This is something we never got to experience.”
You agree. You are made to realise the life of a superhero is not as great as it portrayed to be. It reveals the darker side of being a superhero. It is a lonely life. You decide you have had enough. You are finally at peace with yourself and decided to let go of the past. Now all you can do is await your own death.
Yet, you get your shit together one last time. One last time you become a superhero, not for saving the world but for your own selfish reason. One last time, you become the hero Logan, we all love.
Thanks Logan, for portraying the most humane superhero, one last time.