Logan was nominated for an Oscar, but... it could have been better! On this week's podcast, Daryl, Jay, and Justin each offer 3 changes that they believe would make Logan better. And below, Ashley Pauls offers a fourth perspective (one that's far less complain-y that the guys)! What do you think?
Daryl, Jay, and Justin ALSO have a 4th change they'd make to make to Logan better. It's available on Patreon for our supporters: https://www.patreon.com/posts/logan-make-it-17282282
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Also... here's the video Jay did about his issues with the storytelling aspects of Logan:
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HOW ASHLEY WOULD MAKE LOGAN BETTER
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two decades now since Hugh Jackman first appeared as Wolverine in the original X-Men film. Although Jackman might have originally seemed like an unusual casting choice, few actors in superhero films have approached their roles with as much passion and dedication as he has over the years. Sure, the X-Men films have had their ups and downs, but Jackman as Wolverine always stands out. I’m sure filming the character’s swan song — the Oscar-nominated “Logan” — was an emotional experience for him; it’s certainly an emotional experience for the viewers.
I really loved “Logan” — so much so that I actually had some trouble with this topic “Logan – The Story Geeks Make It Better.” ;) So for my take, I’m going to mix things up, and instead, here are three reasons why I think “Logan” is actually just about perfect. While there are a few small tweaks I still might have made to the final film, overall it hits all the right notes, at least for me. So, let’s dive on in and discuss why I think “Logan” works so well!
#1: The gritty tone
Even though I really love “Logan,” it’s a movie I’ve actually only watched twice, just because it’s so darn depressing. Set in a bleak future, “Logan” is a dark, gritty, violent and sometimes difficult-to-watch film, one that fully earns its R rating. It’s definitely not a fun popcorn flick, like some of the other X-Men movies. In fact, at times “Logan” feels more like a western than a superhero film. Yet even though “Logan” is a dark movie, it’s also an incredibly rewarding viewing experience. In this instance, if the film was more fun and “rewatchable,” it wouldn’t be as powerful.
As a character, Logan/Wolverine has always been rough around the edges, and this movie really lets Jackman cut loose with the character and embrace his tendencies as an angry loner. You get to see how the years of isolation and violence have taken a toll on him, and you can *feel* the weariness that hangs on him heavily as his healing powers fail him. He’s ready to give up, but he keeps going because that’s simply what he’s always done.
I love special effects in superhero films, but I also love that “Logan” was willing to strip those away and just let this film breathe, focusing more on the characters and the performances. The grittier tone allows Logan — and Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier — to shine in a new and unexpected way. All characters don’t necessarily get fully satisfying endings to their story arcs, and it hurts that Professor X is just *gone,* without the epic death scene he probably deserved. There are also fewer ties to the overall X-Men film universe than one might expect. Yet this is all part of the film’s overall message, that sometimes life doesn’t end neatly and happily...though tragic endings can still have meaning.
And even though the tone of “Logan” is bleak, I don’t see it as a hopeless film, because there are genuine moments of light and hope — moments that shine more brightly due to the grim circumstances surrounding them.
#2: Logan’s greatest villain...himself
I’ll fully admit that the film’s lead villain, the cyborg tracker Donald Pierce, isn’t the strongest superhero villain, and an argument could be made that a more dynamic villain would have made “Logan” even better. But thankfully, Pierce isn’t the only villain in the film. Logan also has to fight...himself.
In the film’s middle and final acts, Logan must face a younger, stronger clone of himself (a.k.a. X-24). It’s a bit weird and unsettling seeing two Wolverines fighting each other, but I really liked this concept because one of Logan’s greatest enemies has always been himself. His pain and anger have made him hurt people and push them away for many years, and it’s definitely symbolic to see him fighting a younger version of himself (i.e. his past coming back to haunt him). When he faces the clone and sacrifices himself, he’s finally overcoming the ghosts from his past and finding peace.
Watching Logan achieve victory in this way provides a poignant bit of closure for his character, which brings us to point #3...
#3: A satisfying final arc for Wolverine’s character
Wolverine has never been an “upstanding” sort of character with a strong moral center like, say, Professor X or Captain America. However, deep down he’s a better man than he cares to admit. So it’s fitting that his end is as a reluctant but ultimately self-sacrificial hero. It takes him a while to do the right thing, but he does show up to do the right thing when it matters most.
We see hints of Logan’s better side throughout the movie, such as the way he continues caring for the ailing Professor X, even at great risk to himself. He takes in the lonely young mutant Laura, even though sheltering her is dangerous. Although he doesn’t always treat Laura and Professor X nicely, you can tell that he does care about what happens to them.
Logan was never going to be a perfect father figure for Laura, and at this point in his life, it may well be impossible for him to change into the person she really needs him to be. Yet when he sacrifices his own life trying to save Laura at the end of the film, it’s an incredibly moving moment, one in which he finally finds peace from his pain and clears a path for her to carry on his legacy but also be a better person than he was.
I feel Logan pretty much had to die at the end of this film in order for him to have the most meaningful character arc. He is a violent, flawed character, and a fully redemptive arc with a happier ending would have been difficult to pull off. Instead, he leaves this earth as a broken man who still finds a light of hope in the end. I particularly like the closing shot of Laura taking the cross standing over Logan’s grave and turning it sideways, displaying an “X” instead, bringing to a close his journey as a member of the X-Men. If even Logan, with all his mistakes, isn’t beyond redemption, we know none of us are too far from the light to be truly lost.
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