Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein

Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) tries to protect the young mutant Laura (Dafne Keen ) in Logan. 

By Andrew A. Smith

Tribune Content Agency

Logan, premiering March 3, is already getting positive reviews and word of mouth. It’s supposedly full of heart, as well as R-rated violence. 

Logan is set in 2029, but not in a fabulous, high-tech future. Instead, the movie begins in a shabby area on the U.S.-Mexican border, where an aging (but not dying, thanks to his healing factor) Wolverine works as a driver for hire to support the remainder of the X-Men, his makeshift family. That consists of an aging (and probably dying) Professor Xavier, who is deteriorating mentally, and Caliban, although a different version than the one who had a cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse. (Evidently, all the rest of the X-Men are X-tinct.) This life changes when a young mutant named Laura shows up, pursued by powerful, evil forces.

The premise, which promises a unique movie, isn’t entirely unique itself. It didn’t leap fully-formed from Zeus’ forehead, but instead has roots in various X-comics:

Q. Where did the idea for Old Man Logan come from?

A. Appropriately, a story titled “Old Man Logan” by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven that ran in Wolverine comics in 2008-09. The story is set in a shabby, dystopic future 50 years after the world’s supervillains teamed up, took on the greatly outnumbered superheroes, and won. The United States has been carved up into various fiefdoms, with, for example, the Red Skull as the “president” and boss of the East Coast. The U.S. has regressed into a lawless, poverty-stricken dystopia.

“Old Man Logan” begins in what used to be California, but is now a territory run by the “Hulk Gang.” These are the children and grand-children of Bruce “Hulk” Banner and Jennifer “She-Hulk” Walters, who are a cannibalistic, super-strong, redneck family running a state-wide protection racket on the subsistence farmers who live there. It becomes evident that the Hulk joined the supervillains – it’s rumored he delivered the death blow to Thor – with some speculating that the gamma radiation that turns him into the Emerald Behemoth finally poisoned his brain.

One of the preyed-upon farmers is an old man who calls himself Logan, who used to be The Wolverine. Whatever happened to him 50 years ago turned him into a pacifist; he hasn’t popped his claws since. He lives with his wife and two kids, and allows himself to be bullied and beaten up rather than raise a hand (or claw) in violence.

Behind on the “rent,” Logan is desperate when an very old, blind, but still alive Hawkeye shows up with a job offer – help him deliver a package to the East Coast, and the reward could get the ex-X-Man out from under the Hulk Gang for good. Reluctantly, Logan agrees, going on a road trip where readers get a look at the rest of the tortured U.S., learn the fate of various superheroes and discover what experience was so devastating it turned the berserker Wolverine into the pacifist Logan.

The story didn’t end there, either. When Marvel Comics rebooted its universe in 2015, Old Man Logan was included in the reborn Marvel Universe (whereas his younger doppelganger remains dead). His adventures continued, first in the Wolverine: Old Man Logan: Warzones series, and currently in the ongoing Wolverine: Old Man Logan, set in the present.

Q. Why aren’t Hawkeye, the Hulks and Red Skull in Logan?

A. Because Twentieth Century Fox, which has the rights to make X-Men films, can’t use those characters, whose rights are owned by Marvel Films. Hence the presence of Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and Laura (Dafne Keen) as Logan’s companions, and Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) as the Big Bad.

These are no cosmetic changes. With the absence of Hawkeye and his mysterious package, the plot changes to one of Logan protecting Laura from Pierce. It appears that a road trip will take place, but not one that leads to the Red Skull.

Q. Does “Laura” come from the comics, too?

A. Given that the trailers have shown Laura popping claws, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say she’s based on the same Laura who is Wolverine in the current comics.

That character is a female clone of Wolverine, who is still a teenager and has had perhaps a worse life than her namesake, including being raised without human contact, multiple missions as an involuntary assassin and spending her early teens as a prostitute. She attempts to make up for her past sins by taking up Logan’s mantle and fighting for the underdog with the X-Men. She wields twin claws on her fists, and one on each foot, and possesses Logan’s healing factor and adamantium skeleton.

Laura is also referred to as X-23. It turns out that the organization that cloned her was working with damaged DNA from the Weapon X program that created Wolverine, and had failed 22 times attempting a male clone. The damage was to the “Y” chromosome, so when they attempted a female clone on the 23rd try, it worked.

X-23 actually first appeared on TV,  in a couple of 2002 episodes of the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, but made her full-fledged comic book debut as an ongoing character in the comic book miniseries NYX in 2004. She graduated to a pair of miniseries in 2005 and 2006, as well as 21 issues of a series titled X-23 (2010-12). Currently she appears in her own ongoing title, All New Wolverine, as well as All New X-Men.

Q. Will Hugh Jackman continue as Old Man Logan in future X-Men movies?

A. Jackman says this is his last performance as the feral X-Man. And since he has made the role so much his own, it’s hard to believe audiences would accept anyone else. It’s far more likely that, with the introduction of a female Wolverine, we’ll probably see some version of Laura carry the role forward.

Q. How does this movie fit in with the other X-Men movies?

A. Don’t worry about it – because director James Mangold didn’t. In fact, Mangold told comicbook.com that he chose the year 2029 so he wouldn’t have to deal with continuity from previous movies.

“There's an epilogue scene in ‘Days of Future Past’ which is 2024, or 2023, something like that, [that] I just wanted to get far enough past,” Mangold said. “My goal was real simple: it was to pick a time where I had enough elbow room that I was clear of existing entanglements.”

And since everybody from the previous movies is (probably) dead (except Logan and Xavier) you really don’t need to worry about any other characters or timelines. “Logan” pretty much stands alone.

And I can’t imagine a better farewell to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. So long, bub. (Snikt!)

Reach Captain Comics by email (capncomics@aol.com), the Internet (captaincomics.ning.com), Facebook (Captain Comics Round Table) or Twitter (@CaptainComics).

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I saw Logan last night. It's pretty emotional, and largely a downer. That's not a complaint, just a warning that if you're in the mood for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, you're in the wrong movie.

I don't want to spoil anything. It's a good movie, and you should see it without my loose lips giving anything away. But I will make a couple of comments that are spoiler-y without giving anything big away:

* In Old Man Logan, Emma Frost says, "We're not the future any more, didn't you hear? ... There's 20 of us now, and not a single mutant born in close to 40 years. We were a blip, Logan. Nothing more than a genetic anomaly."

That appears to be the case in Logan, too. Mutants haven't been born for since the heyday of the X-Men. Which doesn't mean there aren't mutants in this movie ...

* I expected there to be only four mutants in the movie: Logan, Laura, Prof. X and Caliban. That's what my pre-movie research led me to believe. It's pretty clear that all the other X-Men are dead, and given the events in Old Man Logan, I expected the moviemakers to give us something equally chilling. They did, which I won't spoil. But there are more mutants in the movie -- again, I won't spoil the hows or whys -- which makes it more X-Men-y and less spaghetti Western. I had expected the latter.

* Donald Pierce is a familiar name to X-Men readers, and he is present in this movie. Interestingly, he is tied to a group of prosthetically augmented hunters named the Reavers, just as he was in the comics. Only they are 30 years younger than our heroes, and aren't called the Reavers until late in the movie. I picked up on it, though, as I suspect all of you would, too.

* Logan calls X-Men comics "ice cream for bed-wetters." I tried not to take it personally. He was having a bad week.

* Logan is suffering from an unspecified ailment throughout the movie. I had my guesses as to what it was, and I was wrong.

Y'all go see it, and tell us what you think!

It's pretty emotional, and largely a downer.

Ya think

Maybe that's why there are so few comments on this thread. I take it as a given that every Legionnaire is going to see this movie.

If they don't, they should. 

I like a good popcorn movie just fine, but scripts like this add to the pile of evidence that you can tell a good, meaty "movie for grownups about real issues" in this genre.  And when you turn good actors loose on a script like that ... Jackman and Stewart turned in their best-ever performances in an X-film.  Dafne Keen was pretty dang impressive too

Agreed. Jackman and Stewart did terrific jobs sending off their respective characters. Fine character work for both. And a bad actress in the X-23 role would have ruined the movie, so Dafne Keen had a lot of pressure on her tiny shoulders -- and totally sold it.

Also, I read a few reviews that said that they overdid it with the claws-through-the-head stuff, but that never even occurred to me. I didn't realize they were really doing anything different, and only later was reminded that the "R" rating gave them more freedom. Either I was filling in the blanks in the other movies, or seven seasons of "Walking Dead" have completely inured me to that type of violence.

I did notice that Logan's first word in the movie was the F-bomb. And all I can say there is, "Yes, that's exactly what Logan would say in that circumstance." It's likely that's what I would say, too. It's the 21st century, folks, nobody says "Jeepers!" any more.

I had to see it in the theater after all of the positive comments. We just got home after seeing it and were both very impressed. The ultra-violence and the cursing all fit into the story organically, and the performances were excellent, even the bad guys. We both noticed several very young children that had been brought by their parents. None of them seemed affected by any of it. If the R rating involved naked people and sex I'm sure they would have been outraged. The promo for the Deadpool sequel was very clever.

Captain Comics said:

Agreed. Jackman and Stewart did terrific jobs sending off their respective characters. Fine character work for both. And a bad actress in the X-23 role would have ruined the movie, so Dafne Keen had a lot of pressure on her tiny shoulders -- and totally sold it.

Sorry, folks. I had avoided this thread before because I hadn't seen it. Yesterday, I did. I had the afternoon off and had the perfect amount of time to go see it before I had my first tutoring case.

  • Loved it so much. I'm not eager to see it again right away, as it was really heavy.
  • Patrick Stewart deserves an Oscar nomination, for the record.
  • I would love to see a New Mutants movie next.

Saw it this weekend and liked it a lot. There are some weak spots in terms of story and plot as there usually are with superhero movies. But outside of that I thought the movie was really powerful with some genuinely moving moments.

The ultra-violence moves things along nicely, but the strength of this movie, to me, was the relationship stuff. Logan and Professor X playing the roles of the good son taking care of his father in his old age. Patrick Stewart getting the chance to bring some comic relief to his role as the Professor for the first time with some funny "senior moments."  The Professor's instant grandfatherly bond with Laura. The two grizzled X-vets struggling to sort of raise this little girl.  The road picture aspect as they travel cross country to get Laura to safer ground.  Logan's reluctance to let himself care about his daughter.  Lots of really great dysfunctional family moments peppered throughout. You don't see this type of stuff too often in a superhero film and I thought Mangold did a really nice job with it.

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