By Jack Dignan
Three movies hit theatres this week: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Keeping Up With The Joneses and Ouija: Origin of Evil. My review for Jack Reacher is up on SaltyPopcorn.com and can be found here, and my review for Keeping Up With The Joneses should be up on that site shortly. I did actually see Ouija last night, and my thoughts will be up very soon, but what's much more important than getting reviews up for those movies is the fact that the first trailer for Logan, the new Wolverine movie, got released yesterday, and boy oh boy is it worth talking about. Much more worthy of discussion than Ouija.
Hugh Jackman first came onto the scene as Wolverine in 2000's X-Men, and now, seventeen years later (or at least it will be by the time this movie is released) he dons that character for one final time, and his final outing as Wolverine looks absolutely phenomenal. It looks to be an emotional, personal end to Logan's story, simultaneously creating closure for such a beloved character and passing the torch down to Dafne Keen's X23, a young girl created by the Essex corporation by using Wolverine's blood, as hinted at during the post credits scene in X-Men: Apocalypse. We don't get a look at X23 in action, her adamantium claws nowhere to be seen just yet, but the film does appear to be creating a strong connection between her and Logan, and I really hope this relationship works on screen.
One thing that's apparent in the trailer, surprisingly, is how tragic this film looks. Set to 'Hurt' by Johnny Cash, the film comes across as shockingly heartbreaking, using the song to perfection. It creates a sort of empathy with Wolverine, who just looks fed up with this world. Everything has turned to shit, everyone he loves seems to have gone or died (hence the line "mutants... they're gone now," which raises a lot of questions as to how and why they're gone), and he just doesn't want to be here. All hope seems to be lost, and by the looks of it, living forever isn't suiting him all that well. I mean, I know he's not technically immortal, but his healing factor does allow him to live longer than the average human being, so close enough.
The two Wolverine solo movies haven't been all that fantastic. I do quite enjoy The Wolverine, but it has its fair share of problems, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine is just unspeakably bad. Logan, finally, seems to be giving Wolverine the movie he deserves, and I do hope the R rating assists in doing so. He's angry, worn down and ready to die, and this should make for a rather fantastic solo movie. Director James Mangold also appears to have crafted a rather beautiful looking film. The cinematic's and the camera work is all looking really promising, and if the final film does end up being as good as this trailer, Logan has the potential to be one of the best X-Men movies to date.
However, this begs the question of where to go next. What happens to the X-Men franchise when Wolverine is no longer in the equation? X-Men First Class is one of my favourite films of the series, and that had Wolverine for a mere five second cameo. The latest installment, X-Men: Apocalypse, got mixed reviews, and after watching it twice, I do enjoy it, but it's not that great of a movie. It's fun in a corny, over the top way. Both of those movies didn't have Wolverine as the lead role, and both of them made simnifically less money at the box office than all of the other X-Men films. Fox could easily go on and make movies without Hugh Jackman, but clearly, they're not going to turn in as big of a profit as they'd like, no matter what the quality of the actual film is.
Personally, as a big X-Men fan, I do hope things are beginning to end for this franchise. I truly hope Fox are starting to wrap things up. Their franchise has lasted nearly two decades, and it probably will reach that point once they make a few more Deadpool related movies. I can't wait for Deadpool 2, and the same goes for the Deadpool spinoff, X-Force, but I can't say I'm too excited for the idea of more Fox-made X-Men movies any time soon. Once they make a bazillion dollars off Deadpool, which I will happily pay to see, I hope we see the end of the X-Men franchise, and hey, maybe in a few years time we'll see them return to Marvel, where they really belong.
Logan hits theatres March 2nd, 2017