There shouldn’t be any X-Men comics inside the actual X-Men movies.
Not gonna do it. Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.
But now there are. It happens at the :30 second mark of the new Logan trailer. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine flips through the pages of an X-Men comic book his new 12-year-old surrogate daughter reads, dismissing all of it by saying, “Maybe a quarter of it happened, and not like this. In the real world, people die.”
Of course, in the real world this is just a movie based on a series of comic books which go back to the 60s, specifically focusing on a character in Wolverine who was first introduced as a one-off Hulk villain. Hugh Jackman is just an actor retiring from the role which defined his career, and 20th Century Fox is just a studio desperately hoping this Logan movie can tap into some of the pent-up demand for R-Rated material which helped launch Deadpool into the box office heavens last February. That little girl is just a promising new actress named Dafne Keen whose character is based on a comic book character called X-23, a female clone of Wolverine who has been repurposed for this film to serve as Wolverine’s surrogate daughter and Professor Xavier’s surrogate granddaughter.
The point of the scene is likely to both pay homage to Wolverine’s comic book roots in this, his final cinematic outing (at least final go as played by Jackman), and to draw a line in the sand between Logan and every other comic book movie out there (including every prior X-Men movie). It’s a mission statement from the film’s co-writer-director James Mangold, backing up what he actually wrote on the second page of the script (which he then shared on social media for all of us to read):
Now might be a good time to talk about the ‘fights’ described in the next 100 or so pages. Basically, if you’re on the make for a hyper choreographed, gravity defying, city-block destroying CG fuckathon, this ain’t your movie.
In this flick, people will get hurt or killed when shit falls on them. They will get just as hurt or killed when shit falls on them. They will get just as hurt or just as killed if they get hit with something big and heavy like, say, a car. Should anyone in our story have the misfortune to fall off a roof or out a window, they won’t bounce. They will die.
As for our hero, well, he’s older now and it’s clear his abilities aren’t what they once were. He’s fading on the inside and his diminished healing factor keeps him in a constant state of chronic pain – hence booze as a painkiller.
They could have had X-23 simply sitting on that hotel bed mindlessly watching X-Men: Apocalypse only to elicit derisive laughter from Wolverine, and it would have achieved the same effect. Everything else out there is trivial compared to how serious Logan is going to be, gritty but not in that “Oh, they just gave Zack Snyder a gallon of Red Bull and let him do whatever he wanted while running around the set and editing room and yelling about Frank Miller” way that we new associate with so-called “gritty” superhero movies. This is the Mad Max meets Children of Men meets The Road X-Men movie.
I get it. In fact, I love it. Logan is my single most-anticipate comic book movie of the year, just ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. However, what this seemingly inconsequential sequence with Logan looking at himself in the comics reminds me of is that this is just a movie. It pulls me out of the story, even if for just a moment, and I don’t want that. Meta-moments like that are Deadpool‘s thing, not Wolverine’s.
There will probably be an in-universe explanation for it, especially since this film is set in the 2029. As the X-Men kept saving the world and the war between humans and mutants raged on, some comic book company started turning their adventures into comic books. However, come on, know you’re making us think about Marvel and Stan Lee and the various people actually responsible for the creation of the X-Men.
And that’s me likely making too much out of what amounts to a mere 9 seconds of an 140 second trailer chock-full of action movie goodness. After all, this movie still looks fantastic. I’m just the nerd who winces a little at seeing Hugh Jackman looking at a picture of his comic book counterpart.
What about you? Do you feel the complete opposite, thinking the sequence in question to be a perfectly nice homage/clever meta moment? Let me know in the comments.
Logan is due out March 3, 2017.