Posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
The first trailer for Logan arrived this morning and it’s safe to say that the look and feel of this movie is unlike any other X-Men movie. Director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman seem intent on bringing the saga of Wolverine to a definitive and dramatic close, complete with a trailer that is as solemn as it is exciting.
We’re still in the early days of the film’s marketing and much about the movie remains under wraps, but there’s still a lot to dig into here. Let’s comb through that trailer shot-by-shot and frame-by-frame and see what we can discover. Speculation, and maybe accidental spoilers, follow.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” is one of the greatest songs of all time, but that also means it has become one of the most overplayed songs of all time. Still, as a shortcut to explain that this movie is about a broken character struggling with day-to-day existence, it’s pretty damn effective. If the final film conjures the feelings this song creates, we could be looking at something very special. As a bonus, the use of the greatest country artist of all time on the soundtrack feels like Logan wearing its western influences as a badge of honor from frame one.
“Charles, the world is not the same as it was.” Although the actual plot of Logan is drawing from a few different comic book sources, the setting seems very much inspired by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s “Old Man Logan.” That popular storyline took place in a future where society has essentially collapsed, supervillains dominate the world, and Logan lives in a desert wasteland. From there, “Old Man Logan” and Logan diverge dramatically, especially since the near-future of this film seems to be a more grounded dystopia rather than the more colorful (and often roll-your-eyes level preposterous) landscape of the comic.
“Mutants…they’re gone now.” Here’s Logan drinking alone at a funeral. So let’s go ahead and ask the big question: who’s in the coffin? Since this is a movie that appears to be very strongly focused on loss, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest to learn that the body being buried belongs to a character we’ve known from other X-Men movies. As choppy as this series’ continuity has been, this world was our grand introduction to the modern superhero boom – watching an aging Wolverine deal with the fact that another one of his friends, perhaps a character we’ve been watching since 2000, is dead could make for a harrowing experience.
Remember that scene in X2 where Logan is shot in the head, falls to the ground for a minute, and then stands up and shrugs it off? It looks like age is finally catching up to our once-invincible hero and his healing factor is not what it used to me. In a page from the script revealed by director James Mangold, we are told “people will get hurt or killed when shit falls on them” in this movie and that “should anyone in our story have the misfortune to fall off a roof or out a window, they won’t bounce. They will die.” In other words, prepare for a more stripped-down superhero tale, one where the main character will bleed like the rest of us.
One story detail we do know is that the aging Logan is acting as a caretaker to an ailing Charles Xavier, who is battling both dementia and his increasingly unstable powers. Surely it’s no accident that his dilapidated home resembles the same basic layout of Cerebro, the secret room that would enhance his psychic powers.
Here’s our first look at Professor X himself, and it’s noteworthy for two reasons. First of all, it’s genuinely painful to see a character known for his great power, a man who has led and mentored some of our favorite superheroes, dying in a filthy hideout in the middle of the desert after his life’s mission has seemingly failed. Second, it’s kind of astonishing that Patrick Stewart looks so good at 76 that they’ve literally had to cover him in makeup to sell his old age.
Mangold leans heavily on the western imagery in this footage, blending hints of future dystopia with beautiful shots of arid landscapes. This looks like it could be Logan’s home (maybe in the same basic area where Professor X is wasting away?), a literal pile of junk in the middle of the desert, far from the people who have hunted mutants to near-extinction. We’ll get to them in a moment.
“She’s like you. Very much like you.” Meet Laura Kinney (Dafne Keen), better known to comic book fans as X-23. As Professor X’s dialogue implies, she shares many of Logan’s abilities. In fact, her comic book counterpart is a female clone of Wolverine who shares not only his regenerative healing factor, but also his adamantium claws. In the current Marvel comic book universe, where Logan has been dead for a few years, she has taken up the mantle of Wolverine, wearing his yellow costume and everything. It’s actually not clear how many similarities the cinematic version of Laura will share will Logan. We can safely assume that she’ll be able to heal more quickly than most, but will she ever break out claws of her own? This trailer offers no solid evidence.
We know that one of the main villains in Logan are a group known as the Reavers. In the comics, they’re a group of cybernetically enhanced criminals who were assembled to battle the X-Men and help exterminate mutants entirely. For Logan, they seem have been given a chilling makeover – it looks like they’re operating with full cooperation of the authorities. Remember the good ol’ days when the government didn’t know what to do about mutants? Well, it looks like they made a decision and it’s not pretty.
It’s not entirely clear who this fellow is, but we can wager an educated guess. This is likely Caliban (Stephen Merchant), the albino mutant who assists Logan in caring for Professor X. Although his power allows him to detect any nearby mutants, his skin wasn’t exactly built for the harsh desert sunlight, hence the get-up.