(WARNING: This post contains spoilers for Logan.)
There's no living with the killing. There's no going back from one. Right or wrong, it's a brand. And a brand sticks. This is the overall message behind Logan — the cost of a history of violence. For more than two lifetimes, Logan has experienced bloodshed and suffering over and over again. He has nightmares of the people he's killed night after night, and the lives lost continue to haunt him. Death is in Logan's bones, just like the adamantium attached to him — and there's no going back from it.
In #Logan, we meet the newest mutant with claws, super healing, and an adamantium skeleton just like Wolverine: Laura Kinney, a.k.a. X-23, the bloody result of an experiment gone horribly wrong. Writer-director James Mangold says he plans to bring back the character for future installments, and might even take over Logan's mantle of #Wolverine someday.
I'm a big #XMen fan, and an even bigger Wolverine fan. Before seeing Logan, I was very excited for X-23's appearance and what it could mean for the franchise going forward. After seeing the film, I don't want it to go anywhere. Here is why any future X-Men movies should leave Laura out of them.
Meeting Old Man Logan
When we meet Logan at the beginning of the film, he's no longer in his prime. Exhausted from decades of fighting, bleeding and killing, an elderly Logan is now taking care of a mentally ill Charles Xavier while fending off his own mortality. The wounds in his chest aren't healing anymore. The adamantium in his bones is poisoning his body. He self-medicates with a bottle of Jack everywhere he goes. He's not Wolverine anymore; he's just old man Logan.
Enter the young mutant Laura, who is on the run from a group of cybernetic hitmen called the Reavers. She enlists in the help of Logan and Charles to get her to North Dakota, where she believes exists a mutant paradise called Eden where she can be safe. Charles, being a good Samaritan, is eager to help Laura get to North Dakota. Logan, however, knows that this will lead to more killing and bloodshed — it always does. He's had more than enough of that in his own lifetime.
Nevertheless, they both end up getting roped into this conflict and go on the run from the Reavers. While on the road, Logan makes a startling discovery: Laura is his daughter. Born from a Transigen biological experiment, Laura is the result of an artificial birth that used Logan's DNA to replicate his mutant abilities in her. In short: She is Logan. Riddled with the guilt of his past, he knows what this means for her — she'll grow up surrounded by the same violence as he did; the Wolverine legacy will live on. But at the moment, that's the least of Logan's worries.
Logan Vs. Wolverine
About halfway through the film, Logan shockingly finds out that Laura was not the only clone Transigen made from his DNA. An almost exact replica of his younger self called X-24 has been tracking them, and he's everything that Logan was in his prime. He's aggressive, ferocious, unforgiving, brutal and relentless — the fiercest animal anyone has ever come across.
For the first time in his life, Logan is facing the full consequence of what it meant to be Wolverine. It is literally Logan's fight with the Wolverine, and it's a fight he can't turn away from — he's fighting himself.
After a few scrapes with the cloned beast, their fight climaxes in the forest near the Canadian border, where X-24 is trying to hunt Laura and other child mutants running away from him. Logan distracts him long enough for them to escape, but not before X-24 takes Logan and impales him through a tree stump. Just before he's about to deliver the killing blow, Laura takes a pistol loaded with an adamantium bullet — the only thing that can kill Logan — and shoots X-24 in the head. With his skull blown out, X-24 collapses and dies. The worst part of the Wolverine legacy ends.
But what does that have to do with X-23? Logan's next words to her says it all:
'Don't Be What They Made You'
Unfortunately, because of the adamantium affecting his healing ability, the fatal chest wound Logan sustained isn't healing; Logan is dying. In his final moments, Logan turns to Laura and utters one last plea to his daughter:
"Don't be what they made you."
Shortly after, Logan passes away and is buried in the valley. The children pay their tributes, Laura mourns for her father, and she turns his grave's cross over on its side to turn it into an X. Then she leaves with her friends to cross the boarder.
At this point, there are two legacies living inside of Laura — Wolverine, and Logan. Wolverine's legacy is one of death, pain and tragedy. Logan's is a legacy of redemption and second chances. What Laura decides to do from this point onward is up to her. But for Logan, he's done everything he could to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. His conscience is clear. With this, Laura has to confront a very important question:
What Will She Do Now?
Logan has lived a long, hard life. He's lived with the killing and the murder for as long as he could remember. It's a burden on his shoulder that's too hard to carry, even with an adamantium skeleton. At the end of his story, Logan comes full-circle with the choices he's had to live with and the cycle of violence ends the way it began: in death. Specifically, Logan's.
But with Laura crossing the border, Logan knows she has a chance. She doesn't have to live like he did. She doesn't have to fight or kill anymore. She can live a normal life just like any other girl, human or mutant. She doesn't have to worry about being X-23 or Wolverine. She can just be Laura.
If she crosses the border and lives the life Logan would have wanted for her, his death will have been worth something. But if she instead gets roped back into this life of bloodshed and killing, then Logan's efforts will have been in vain. And he will have died for nothing.
Logan drove, fought and died for Laura so that she wouldn't have to end up like him. If, for one reason or another, she returns in future movies, Logan will have failed in his mission. She'll keep slashing, stabbing, and cutting her enemies away, and Wolverine's legacy will live on instead of Laura's.
Check out some of the X-Men Easter Eggs spotted in Logan and then head over to Movie Pilot Video for more superhero awesomeness.