The United States is a country built on the belief that every human being has the right to attain happiness and to be given the opportunity to become a better person. That is why immigrants from all over the globe travel to U.S. soil and helped create the most powerful modern country on Earth.
Logan is the latest film to tackle the rising immigration issues facing our country, depicting the oppression and unrest that many immigrant families are currently experiencing.
Immigration Is The Film's Main Character
(Note: The following contains spoilers for Logan.)
Logan is being cheered as one of the superhero genre’s greatest films, and with good reason. Its narrative is a timely one that is rooted in an immigrant’s tale. It's a premise that elevates Logan to new heights above what many have come to expect from movies in the super-powered genre.
Every hero in Logan is an immigrant and every one of them is fighting a war for a better future against an organized collective ran by a man who wants to see them fall. There’s no better representation for this grand group of individuals than Laura (Dafne Keen) a.k.a. #X23.
The child Wolverine was born in Mexico and crosses the border with her caregiver, Gabriela Lopez, to find her father. This is the man she hopes will aid her in reaching safe haven, Eden, in Canada. Essentially, Laura and Gabriela are symbols of the hard-working Mexican immigrant who immigrates to the U.S. in search of hope. Laura's endeavors are quarreled by the same collective who saw her grow up, Transigen, which in turn symbolizes the damaged system that forces many Mexicans to leave their home.
This metaphor is further expanded by the subsidiary ownership of Transigen by an American conglomerate, which parallels corporate corruption in the foreign affairs in the real world.
It symbolizes a continuous cycle, that the immigration issue didn’t originate over there, it originated here, in the United States and Laura’s only escape from this loop is by taking herself out of the loop completely and leaving the country she originally thought offered her hope.
This parallels the recent moment in our own history during the U.S. travel ban when Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, opened Canada’s doors to refugees from the Middle East in response to the ban.
But Laura is not the only representation of this issue in the film. The immigration symbol extends even further. Every new mutant in Logan was born in Mexico and after the death of Wolverine they united to build a new house of #XMen. Like the new mutants in Logan, it is immigrants who have built and sustained the United States ever since its inception. One example is during World War II, when our brave soldiers fought for freedom overseas, the Bracero Program welcomed many Mexican immigrants to work in the United States.
As a modern representation, the new mutants coming together and building a new house of #XMen is a metaphor of the many Mexican immigrants who work the unfathomable low-paying, back-breaking jobs that keep our country moving forward.
Perhaps the best indication in Logan of an oppressed immigrant minority is during the scene when Logan, #ProfessorX and Laura are invited into the Munson household, where they were offered food and shelter. Here, the Munson family represents the outsider who’s willing to help the oppressed even though it's not directly their battle to fight. By helping Logan’s family, the Munson family are automatically inserted into a bunch whose voices are ridiculed for helping the ones who cry for opportunity and equality because of who they are and what they believe in. This mockery of social empathy is painfully symbolized by Transigen’s massacre of the Munson family.
Even Logan's last sequence, where the new mutants are trying to enter Canada and are chased down by Transigen's mercenaries, parallels the agonizing turmoil that Mexican immigrants face when crossing the U.S./Mexican border illegally.
The Other Side Of The Spectrum
Logan draws powerful parallels to the hard-working immigrant and the unrest that he or she faces daily under the current administration in the United States, but it also presents the dangers of an open U.S. border and the need for strong security.
The film's last sequence also represents the dangers that our border patrol officers face when safeguarding the border and from the start of Logan, we see what the president is talking about.
A group of criminals try to steal the rims off Logan’s limousine and when Logan intervenes, he is suddenly shot in the chest. These people represent another unfortunate truth behind immigration: bad people also travel, and they are here. But on the grand scale of the movie, on top of the rim-stealing crooks, mutants are the ones that are looked upon as abominations.
To save humanity, Zander Rice wants to control the X gene, which could represent the president’s travel ban to save America from foreign evil-doers. What Rice fails to perceive is that not all mutants are bad and to some extent he capitalizes on this, with rather maniacal means, by creating his own selfish vision of mutant-kind.
From a certain point of view, Rice is doing right for humanity, but as a consequence he is destroying one of humanity’s greatest virtues: empathy.
Logan Has A Message
Director James Mangold created a masterpiece that carries on the tradition of highlighting social issues that has been a part of Marvel's mutants from the beginning. The X-Men were born as a symbol of the oppressed American during the Civil Rights movement and now Logan continues that message for a new era.
Immigration is a tough issue, but that shouldn’t stop us from speaking about it, regardless of our position. During a current interview with BUNDLE, Sir Patrick Stewart said it best when he said:
It may just be a case of life catching up with art because the movie was conceived and the ideas were being discussed, and the script in development before we had found ourselves worldwide in the situation that we are in, with hundreds and hundreds of dispossessed abandoned people, who just like the three principle good characters in our movie, are trying to get to a border and cross it. And the crossing means safety and where they are is very, very dangerous... It's simply there, it's implied... They are little more than just metaphors.
Logan is now playing in theaters everywhere.