With Hugh Jackman’s Latest Wolverine Movie, Is It Finally Time To Axe The X-Men?

Posted by ananya saha in Culture-Vulture
December 14, 2016

Now that 2016 is almost on the verge of being under the hill, one can safely say that we have overcome Apocalypse. Not perhaps any person, but a die-hard Marvel, especially a fan of the X-Men Franchise certainly can. And with that, one might have thought that the endless series of spin-offs and pre/sequels (again, a fan would know the underlying significance behind this discombobulating term) have finally been wrapped up. But as we stand on the cusp of welcoming 2017, the ‘fox’-y distributors proudly present Logan” whose official trailer has been released.

No surprises for guessing who is back in town. The rugged, swarthy Hugh Jackman as Wolverine has garnered vaulting popularity. But now, it feels that the producers are making him overstay his welcome just a tad. Not just the poor guy and his literally endless saga of angst, every X-Men film since “X-Men First Class” (XMFC, 2011) has exhibited a downward curve in terms of plot. Not just the chief storyline, but the Wolverine arc also seems susceptible to the tendency of stretching a franchise just for the sake of it. While “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009) generated intrigue; “The Wolverine” (2013) felt contrived and out of the loop. It is indeed a mystery how the latter had turned out to be a greater blockbuster than the former.

There is no denying that Jackman’s crisp cameo in XMFC was applaud worthy. “X-Men Days of Future Past” (2014) is hinged on Wolverine’s capacity to be indestructible. Hence the convenient journey back in time and the prequel/sequel confusion. Although, like many, what I did not understand was why not send Logan back to the sixties, the first time he meets the Charles-Erik duo. And rather than letting him brush them off with the choicest of words, force them to sit and explain that why they should not fight regarding their separate ideals and actually work together. Not only would it have saved a lot of heartache, but might have also prevented Charles from suffering a life of paraplegia. A YouTube channel named HISHE (How It Should Have Ended) have a brilliant statement to make in this context. Also, in reference to the first meeting in X-MEN 1, the Professor tells Logan that he met Erik when he was 17. That clearly does not hold true in XMFC where Charles is shown defending his doctoral thesis on mutants. Granted that they are directed by different people, but would a little effort at coordination have killed them?

And finally, in the most ornate feather in the franchise’s crown, “X-Men Apocalypse” (2016), where a berserk mutant decides to play God, Logan is back with his routine cameo. One cannot have Logan without Lake Alkali and Stryker, hence they are back with a bang as well. By now, with the original X-Men Trilogy, the First Class trilogy and the Wolverine arc; the fans are either sufficiently perplexed, or they have stopped giving two hoots. I believe no one’s commitment can be so great as to stretch their willing suspensions of disbelief to such as extent; especially when the tales are developing subsequent plotholes one after another. By now, I am convinced that the fanfiction authors are hatching better plots compared to the paid writers of the franchise, especially when the former are referring to the original comic book storyline.

And now, we are promised “Logan” (2017) which is apparently the final instalment in a post-apocalyptic future. Why, though? Did DOFP and XMA change nothing? Did Stryker actually succeed in his eternal plotting of ‘mutants should die’ evil? If so, what’s new? Logan is finally ageing (about time!) and his powers are weakening. Sir Patrick Stewart is back as Professor X who plays emotional mother hen to a bruised, battered Logan once more, as the latter tries to drink away his woes. In return, Logan cares for the frail and ailing professor whose telepathy is unstable. There is an enigmatic project ‘transigen’ and a young girl named Laura, who is ‘just like Logan’. How so, remains a mystery of course. Caliban from XMA makes a reappearance, portrayed by a different actor. But what of Magneto and Mystique? Are they a part of this arc still? Apparently, we also have a villain who is conspicuously named ‘Mister Sinister’/Nathaniel Essex. One might remember the XMA post-credits scene where a black case emblazoned with ESSEXCORP is shown. Overall, the buzz generates an air of an X-Men superannuated. Hence whether the trailer delivers anything worthwhile through the hands of James Mangold or falls flat on its face, it’s perhaps time to send this train to the shed.