It's unanimous — Logan is the Wolverine film we've been waiting 17 years to see. Sadly, this last instalment will also be Hugh Jackman's final swan song in the role of Wolvie, but fortunately, Logan also introduces us to newcomer Dafne Keen, who excels in the role of Laura!
Known as X-23 in the comics, Laura is clearly being positioned as the next Wolverine, but in the meantime, she's developed into a fully-fleshed-out character in her own right. While the unusual pair share a number of similarities, one scene in particular demonstrates exactly how different Wolverine and his daughter are in Logan.
Warning: Mild spoilers follow for 'Logan' - read at your own risk!
Old Man Sleeping
Around halfway through the film, Wolverine is seen struggling against his nightmares while sleeping. At first, I was expecting the claws to pop out, just as they did in an earlier #XMen film when he was also having bad dreams. Instead though, director James Mangold eschews the action for a touching moment where Logan awakens to see Laura watching him. This leads to a poignant heart-to-heart where the two discuss their different nightmares, sharing the trauma with one another.
For me, this is one of the most important scenes in the film. In that brief conversation, you learn all you need to know about Wolverine and his 'daughter', attaining a rare glimpse into their hearts and minds, which reveals exactly what makes them different.
Let's start with Wolverine's nightmares, which usually revolve around him hurting people. This is a warrior who's lived since the nineteenth century. Sure, an #Adamantium bullet robbed him of a lot of those memories, but he's been fighting - and killing - regularly since the 1970s. Logan is no stranger to death and he's no stranger to killing either. Tragically, Wolverine can't even claim that he's always killed people who deserve it, either, as there have been times when he killed just because that was in his nature.
The continuity of Logan is pretty confusing, as the film makes nods to both the original timeline and the post-Days of Future Past one. Whatever may have happened in this particular timeline, though, it seems that Wolverine has seen himself forced to kill those he cared about.
This is a familiar concept for director James Mangold. In The Wolverine, Mangold showed Logan struggle as he came to terms with what he'd done to Famke Janssen's Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand. Now, towards the end of Logan's life, Mangold returns to that theme of regret. Logan's nightmares are of the things he's done, of the people he's killed, and of the loved ones he's lost.
In contrast, Laura's nightmares are of people hurting her. She may be young, but she's already suffered so much. The young clone has already suffered the pain of people trying to strip her humanity away — As a teenager, Laura's claws were painfully coated in adamantium, and she's already had to fight for her life. It's no surprise then that Laura's greatest fear is of being hunted, being pursued, and unable to protect herself.
In some ways, X-23 is in the same place emotionally as Wolverine was back in the original X-Men film. There, his nightmares revolved around the Weapon X project, focusing on how people did unspeakable things to him, and how he was unable to defend himself. Where Logan's memories of the Weapon X project are dim and confused, Laura unfortunately holds a crystal-clear recollection of everything that was done to her and this helplessness is what she struggles with most.
Where Logan wallows in regret, Laura is driven to defend herself and, ultimately, to defend her fellow X-23s. The reality is that Laura is indeed being hunted, but she will never allow herself to be defenceless again. This, I think, is the core of Laura's character; a refusal to be a victim any longer, a refusal to back down in the face of opposition. It's telling that she even pops her claws at a random man who tries to restrain her when she's shoplifting; she has little time for regret, little understanding of the nuances to be found between 'right' or 'wrong'. X-23 insists that she's only killed "bad men", and yet was so willing to pop her claws in that shop - suggesting that's more by luck than judgment.
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In many ways, Laura's relationship with Logan has tempered her. She's seen in her 'father' the person she could so easily become, one wracked by guilt and regret. I suspect that Laura won't be quite so swift to take unnecessary lives in the future; but that certainly won't stop her from lashing out at anyone who tries to hunt her, or her friends, down. For Logan, though, I think Laura has become something of a legacy, enabling him to leave a life behind, instead of just death... a hope for the future and not just a regret for the past.
What did you think of 'Logan'?
(Poll Image Credit: 20th Century Fox)