Astonishingly the tenth film in the X-Men series, Hugh Jackman is the only actor to have appeared in every single instalment, even if only a cameo in a bar in First Class or a cardboard cutout of his face worn as a tribute by his biggest fan, Deadpool, in the close of his solo movie. Now, reuniting with James Mangold who directed him in Kate & Leopold and The Wolverine, he dons the claws for the final time as James “Logan” Howlett.
Inspired by the 2008 comic book series Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, the script is by Michael Green, Scott Frank and Mangold, and the soundtrack is by Cliff Martinez, former drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and now best known for his collaborations with Nicolas Winding Refn on Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon.
Joining Jackman onscreen are Morgan‘s Boyd Holbrook as mutant hunter Donald Pierce, Doctor Who‘s Richard E Grant as Doctor Zander Rice, head of Transigen, Hot Fuzz‘s Stephen Merchant as the tracker Caliban, newcomer Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney, the X-23 clone created by Rice, and Sir Patrick Stewart as the elderly Professor Charles Xavier, former leader of the X-Men, now wiped out by a disease which targets mutants and has robbed Logan of his regenerative powers.
With the first trailer released, the team are hugely excited that it will soon be time to meet Logan.
Kevin Gilmartin – I didn’t know this was on the cards and watching this trailer I have goosebumps and a little lump in my throat.
Before he made The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman took to Twitter to ask people what they wanted to see in his supposed final outing as Logan, and the number of responses calling for Old Man Logan, one of which was sent by me, has obviously raised an eyebrow or two at Marvel.
Ok, so this is quite the digression from the original Old Man Logan, but to film that would have been a logistical nightmare considering the role and fate of several current Marvel Cinematic Universe characters in that book, but even in this trailer there’s a couple of nods to the source material – the apparent unwillingness to snickt his claws out at the start, the post-apocalyptic feel, digging the grave.
I am super excited for this.
MichaelFlett – Just when you think you’re getting tired of superhero movies, along comes something which makes you want to book tickets right now. For less than two minutes, there is so much here. James Mangold was the right director for The Wolverine and I’m glad he’s back here, but more than that I’m glad that both Hugh and Sir Patrick are playing their ages.
Comic books have this ethos where everything can be recycled and regenerated and reborn eternally, which as a result means there are no consequences, ever. Any storyline, any event which becomes inconvenient, just gets rewritten. Life isn’t like that, and as long as comics return to that persistent myth they’re entertaining lies, escapist entertainment rather than art.
Sir Patrick is in his mid-seventies and Hugh is now just a couple of years off fifty. They’ve been playing these parts for the best part of two decades, with X-Men starting filming in September 1999 and this due for release in March 2017. They’re not young men any more and rather than trying to get around that they’re making a film about it, and what’s more, Hugh has said this will be his last time in the role, and I believe him. It’s better to go out this way than have endless diminishing reruns, like Status Quo on their thirtieth reunion tour.
And the indications are that for some, this will be the end. Professor X is not looking good, and I can’t help but feel having absolutely botched his first death scene ten years ago in The Last Stand then written that film entirely out of continuity with Days of Future Past this is a second chance to do it and to do it right. Charles is the most important character in all of the X-Men stories; his death has to have impact which was something Brett Ratner had no understanding of.
It’s also sobering to realise, that although I knew Patrick Stewart from Dune, Lifeforce and Excalibur through the eighties, to most people he leapt to preposterous levels of pop culture recognition later that decade with Star Trek The Next Generation, and has been in the public eye as either Jean-Luc Picard or Charles Xavier ever since, thirty years of a being a constant, familiar, reassuring presence across two roles, one of which he has already said goodbye to, and here goes the other. It’s the absolute end of an era.
As to Logan, he was always a reluctant warrior. He told Rogue that it hurt him every time he used his claws, and it wasn’t just because they cut through his knuckles every time. In X2 we saw what it took to bring out the beast when the School for Gifted Youngsters was attacked and the children were threatened, and it seems we’re right back there with Laura Kinney, the X-23, played by Dafne Keen.
She’s a relatively inexperienced performer, but that means nothing – just look at Sennia Nanua in The Girl with All the Gifts, and she’ll have Hugh and Sir Patrick at her side. And just look at that moment at the dinner table, Professor X’s smile. She’s going to be the kid, Logan is going to be dad, and Charles will be grandpappy, and for a moment at least we’re going to be a big happy family, just like the good days back at the School.
The first time Hugh and James Mangold worked together was on Kate & Leopold, a romantic comedy, and Hugh is a hugely versatile performer, a leading man, an action hero, an ensemble player, a singer; it would be great if instead of simply doing the expected action film, Logan was instead a different genre entirely, but certainly following in the wake of Deadpool it’s going to be aimed at an adult rather than teen audience though in a different way, but hopefully alongside the overt violence of the trailer (did you see what he did with those claws?) it will also be emotionally mature.
Mangold did psychological thriller in Identity, western in 3:10 to Yuma, biography/musical in Walk the Line and award winning drama in Girl, Interrupted, so there is no reason this cannot be far more than “comic book action film.” And speaking of Walk the Line – do we ever get tired of hearing Johnny Cash sing Nine Inch Nails, and how perfectly does it fit this? It might even get the memory of Kermit and Miss Piggy out of my mind…
The screenplay is co-written by Mangold, Michael Green, whose resume includes the mixed bag of Heroes, Green Lantern, Gotham and next up has Alien: Covenant and Blade Runner 2049, so only time will tell on those, and Scott Frank who worked on a very different mixed bag, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Minority Report, Dawn of the Dead, Shameless and… Marley & Me. Between them, they have wide experience and interests, which can only be for the good.
I’ve never read Old Man Logan – I’ve never been a comic reader at all – but everyone I know is thrilled and delighted that this is the decision they’ve made. That was written by Mark Millar who gave us Wanted, Kick-Ass, Secret Service which became Kingsman and Captain America: Civil War, all of which gave us great films, so the material is there, the cast is there, the director is there.
Roll on March and the end of the line!
Dario Persechino – Holy crap that looks good!
That is how you make a trailer. Great music and shots that make you really want to see more.
It seems very different in style to the other X-Men / Wolverine movies which can only be a good thing. The relationship between Charles, Logan and this young girl seems to be at the core of it which instantly gives it a stronger basis than the previous movies featuring our adamantium bonded hero.
Jackman is great but has been wasted in the previous films. Origins was painful to watch and the last movie just had no substance. This looks like they’ve finally given him a story to sink his claws into.
If the movie is as good as this trailer promises we might finally have something we have wanted for a long time, an actually good Wolverine movie worthy of Jackman.
Les Anderson – Am intrigued by Logan – aesthetically it shares little with the earlier X-films so am curious to see what they do with it.
It’s refreshing to see a new take on the Logan we’ve all known and loved. Hugh Jackman has been ill-served by his solo outings in the past so am hoping this will prove a fitting farewell to the character for him. The trailer promises so.