Spoiler warning: Haven't seen Logan yet? Bookmark this article for later or you'll experience the kind of berserker rage that not even Wolverine could walk away from.
One of the key criticisms fired at past Wolverine films was their excessive use of #CGI. For a character so grounded in a no-nonsense approach to super-heroics, it was excruciating to see Logan battle a video-game version of the Silver Samurai... and the less we say about Deadpool's debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the better.
However, director James Mangold has fortunately learned from his mistakes. While promoting Logan, #HughJackman's final swan song, Mangold revealed that studio interference was responsible for that cringe-worthy last act in The Wolverine. Realising that this ungodly mistake should never be made again, Fox gave Mangold more freedom to reign in the CGI, ensuring that Logan would retain the gritty, worn-down aesthetic that the story required.
However, Mangold still had a challenge on his hands. Both of Hugh Jackman's roles in Logan would require special effects to make the star look older and younger, but previous attempts to achieve this had been met with mixed results. Fortunately though, fans seem to agree that Mangold managed to successfully age and de-age Jackman in the final cut, seamlessly combining Old Man Logan and the X-24 clone together onscreen... but the question is how?
How Did Mangold Make Hugh Jackman Look Older In 'Logan'?
#Wolverine may be famous for those retractable claws, but what really sets Logan apart from other mutants is his healing factor, which enables him to recover from almost any wound. An interesting side-effect of this power is that Logan doesn't typically grow older. While his age has remained unclear in the past, X-Men: Origins: Wolverine revealed that the mutant was alive and kicking during the American Civil War.
However, it seems that the years have finally caught up to Logan in his last cinematic outing. The adamantium metal that makes Wolverine's skeleton unbreakable is now poisoning him from the inside, causing his healing factor to slow down. While the 'Ol Canucklehead is still rather durable, scars now remain where cuts would once fade to nothing.
To bring Logan's ailing body to life on the big screen, it seems as though Mangold mainly used practical effects to age our hero in an attempt to keep the aesthetic as natural as possible. However, it looks like this approach would prove problematic for X-24, a younger clone that looks like Hugh Jackman in his prime.
How Did Mangold Make Hugh Jackman Look Younger As X-24?
Makeup and lighting were probably involved in Jackman's transformation, but it seems likely that digital effects also played their part in the creation of the youthful-looking X-24 clone.
X-Men: The Last Stand was one of the first films to notably de-age its characters in this way, smoothing out lines and wrinkles to make Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen look twenty years younger in the flashback prologue. A plastic surgeon was then consulted to ensure that the results looked genuine.
According to Movie Fone, Stewart found these scenes challenging to film, despite the use of CGI:
"We also needed, in the performance, to think about being 20 years younger, the way we sat, the way we moved," said Stewart, then 65. "I feel it now. Our bodies move differently. There's a fluidity which I don't have anymore, not to the same extent. So watching it made me smile a few times."
Since then, more and more blockbuster films are using CGI to alter the age of characters or even resurrect roles for post-humous performances starring deceased actors. Using photographs, stand-in models and advanced CGI techniques, Marvel actors Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr. were made to look younger in Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War respectively. Furthermore, Rogue One notably featured both a resurrected Grand Moff Tarkin and a younger version of Princess Leia in the film's final cut, so such practice is becoming more and more commonplace in Hollywood these days.
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While the significant age contrast between Old Man Logan and the X-24 clone certainly helped make these effects more believable, credit must be given to Mangold and his team, who managed to both age and de-age Hugh Jackman to great success. It's unlikely that we'll ever see the actor undergo these procedures again though, unless of course Fox x-hume Logan from his makeshift grave for one more film.
What do you think of the effects used to alter Hugh Jackman's age in Logan?
(Sources — Movie Fone . Poll Image Credit: Fox)