Though it continues to have one of the more convoluted mythologies in the world of cinema, the X-Men franchise is ostensibly at its apex in the newest instalment, Logan, which already has critics raving.
The X-Men movies have enjoyed both moderate and explosive success at the box office in the last two decades, with its spectacular action and star-studded casts in particular lending credence to a fantastic universe filled with mutants of all kinds. It seems, however, with the most recent film directed and co-written by James Mangold, that the world of X-Men is no longer a safe refuge for the incredible and the exceptional. Logan takes a hard look at the plausible reality of gifted people in a near and oppressive future, with none of the gilded costumes or sparkling effects we’ve come to associate with our favourite superheroes.
Many fans hoped to see a sequel or standalone movie built on the solid foundation director Bryan Singer constructed in the last X-Men film, X-Men: Apocalypse. In the after-credits sequence, there were hints of a possible new villain being introduced from the comics, Mister Sinister. This got people talking about Logan; would it contain this character, and in what context, considering the focus would be on ‘Old Man Logan’?
Mangold was quick to shut down any rumours about that in a new interview with CinemaBlend, seeming to be intent on maintaining Logan’s firm roots in the ‘real’ world.
“Now that you’ve seen some of the movie, I think [what] you get a better sense of is, that’s exactly the kind of thing this movie avoids. Meaning, the kind of operatic highly-costumed, stroboscopic villainy… that’s not in this movie. Everything is kind of as real as we can make it. The movie is trying to kind of take a step backward from that kind of spectacle, so that we get another kind of gain, you know. There’s that loss, but the gain is that the movie feels extremely real and is — as one person who saw the film said to me, ‘I feel like I could go down the street and run into that Wolverine.’ Meaning that this is in my world, not some shiny other world. This is actually taking place in my world.”
It certainly appears as though an older and more worn Wolverine belongs in a grittier setting, but where does that find the spiky-haired cretin in this timeline?
“We all are faced with the issues of dealing for an ailing parent, but what happens when the ailing parent has the world’s most powerful brain and they’re losing control of their brain. That’s an interesting question. What happens when you’re a superhero who has saved worlds and defeated villains, but you’re not healing and your power is not the same as it used to be in the case of Logan, and you have to hold a day job just to take care of your ailing parent. And then the last question is, what happens when suddenly fatherhood is thrust upon you and a child comes into your life? How do you make those connections? How do you deal with it? And if that child is a mutant, how do you deal with the interesting reflection of your own self you see in that kid?”
It looks like Wolverine has yet to face his biggest challenge, hard as that may be to believe.
Logan opens in IMAX in the US on March 3rd.