Batmans come and go, Wolverine is forever
We gather here today to honour the memory of Logan [born James Howlett], better known as “Wolverine”. He breathed his last on screen at Star Cineplex, Dhaka on March 3, 2017.
We were introduced to Logan in 2000, through “X-Men”. Over the course of 17 years, he had demolished his adversaries 8 times as one of the main men of “X-Men” franchise. I'm sure there are couple of records in there somewhere. I'd even argue that Wolverine [played by Hugh Jackman] is the most impactful superhero on the big screen. Sure, Tony “Iron Man” Stark [played by Downey] has the zingers and Bruce “Batman” Wayne [Christian Bale] has the scowl, but a character-audience association developed over two decades has no parallel. I'd also argue that Jackman's Wolverine is the go-to – the face, or claws [whichever is more apt] – when one thinks of the “X-Men” franchise. Maintaining that popularity throughout a period during which a child becomes an adult is serious business.
A two-decade long run will understandably make anyone fatigued. That exhaustion was written all over Logan's weathered face in the eponymous swan song [directed by James Mangold]. The almost immortal mutant doesn't want to carry the burden of a desolate, near-future dystopia where X-Men are no more. His only companion, Charles Xavier [Patrick Stewart], is a shell of his past self. We're told that the adamantium – which is what his claws are made of – in his body, is slowly killing him. Logan discovers he has a daughter [who is as wild and fierce in her untamed state as Logan when we first saw him in 2000] named Laura, and reluctantly agrees to accompany her to a safe haven.
There's a powerful, and very topical, political message as well. The film briefly shows an imposing wall along the US-Mexico border and lines of deportees. Laura [Dafne Keen] speaks Spanish, same as the other kids from an American lab in Mexico she grew up in. These “refugee” mutant kids, hunted by armed men who call themselves “good guys,” are largely female, black, and brown. This is no coincidence.
Logan's farewell is bloody and uber-violent, and I'd describe it as a “Western for millennials”, but it's not devoid of light moments, tenderness. In fact, this is the most humanised avatars of the mutants we all know and love. Perhaps that's why it's painful to watch. As a fanboy/girl, you know Wolverine has it in him to carry a few more X-Men movies to box office glory but you also understand his justification [as well as Jackman's] to depart. That's what makes this endgame profound and radical.
Rest in peace, Logan. I'd urge 20th Century Fox and Marvel to leave Wolverine alone. NO REBOOT, PLEASE.
Karim Waheed is the man responsible for SHOUT. Send queries and complaints to [email protected]