Zander Rice's relationship with X-24. He's adamantly against the nursing staff treating the children as anything but experiments, but during the sedation scene his behavior is almost paternal. Hypocrisy on his part? Or did the loss of dozens of valuable test subjects make him rethink his approach so as to not have The Dog Bites Back? Or is he just genuinely proud of his very own killing machine?
Just how much of a mindless killing machine is X-24? Before killing Charles, he seems to actually sit back and listen while the old man speaks to him, and seems to be placing a comforting hand on his shoulder before stabbing him. Charles is also the only character he kills without provocation: As seen when carrying Laura down the stairs, he doesn't attack Logan until the latter attempts to avenge Charles. He also appears capable of experiencing familial care, or something close to it, as he is not too happy when he sees what Logan did to Rice.
Will Munson. At his death, when he realises he is out of ammo, it looks like he had a My God, What Have I Done? moment at the thought of what he was going to do. It's clear that, given how close he was to death, and the death of his family, he wasn't thinking straight at all. Did we see one last glimpse of the person Will really is, realising he just tried to shoot a man he had called a friend? Or was it just disbelief he ran out of ammo right when he got to Logan?
And You Thought It Would Fail: Logan was the third part in a solo spin-off trilogy (which as Jean Grey said in X-Men: Apocalypse is always the weakest) whose first part X-Men Origins: Wolverine is considered among the weakest superhero films, while the second film was seen as above average. It was also adapting Old Man Logan, a comic that was acclaimed but also divisive, and in any case seen by many fans to be difficult to adapt. The R-Rating and low-budget was also seen as making the film a difficult sell. Then the movie came out, and many acclaimed it to be one of the best superhero films ever made and its low-budget and commercial success netted it a great profit margin, and it's considered by many to the best of Fox's X-Men films.
Angst Aversion: The somber tone to the film has turned some fans off of wanting to see it, even if it's Hugh Jackman's swan song for Wolverine. It doesn't help that this film seems to render the struggles of X-Men: Days of Future Past pointless, since, while the rest of the world is pretty much the same, for mutants, the world went to hell anyway. The only difference is that the death of mutants ends up being the result of secretly sterilizing their kind into extinction, rather than a public culling. The end of the X-Men themselves is utterly bitter as they are indicated to have been killed accidentally by Xavier of all people due to an unfortunate and completely unrelated event. It also renders nearly all they've done or will do in future installments pointless. Help mutant kind? What mutant kind, in just a few years? Oh, good, they're taking in mutants with nowhere to go... So Xavier's first seizure will Kill 'Em All. Bad guys are often acting on a belief that mutants can't help but be dangerous? Boo... Oh, wait, they're right, as the best of them will go on to cause mass death accidentally. Basically, the whole X-Men saga from beginning to very bitter end is rendered a Shoot the Shaggy Dog situation. At least it's set in an alternate universe.
Award Snub: Despite widespread critical accolades, and being nominated for numerous honors since its release, Logan was completely shut out of the Golden Globes nominations and garnered only one at the Oscars (for Adapted Screenplay becoming the first film based upon a superhero comic book to do so which it ultimately lost to Call Me by Your Name). And although it received quite a few nominations for other awards, it only actually won a handful. For more specific examples...
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is considered by many to be one of the most perfect pieces of casting both in comic book movies, and in general. Despite his tragic swan song being widely regarded as the absolute best of his many acclaimed turns in this role, he was sadly ignored.
General consensus was that Patrick Stewart was the film's best shot at any kind of acting recognition thanks to the old veteran giving his best, most gut wrenching performance in a part that he was already excellent in before. Sadly, Sir Patrick scored no higher than a Critics Choice nomination.
Dafne Keen managed to give a fantastic performance where she spends a large amount of her screentime without speaking, all while holding her own against acclaimed veteran actors. This wound up getting her pretty much no awards attention.
Kaleo's "Way Down We Go" for the second trailer manages to not only convey the theme of persevering to the bitter end, even in the darkest of times, but also how the last installment of the Wolverine series goes out on its own terms.
Badass Decay: Two intentional examples that realistically downplay the awesomeness of our old heroes, but provide the opportunity to give them some fascinating development.
In his old age, Logan's healing ability is severely compromised and is unable to counterbalance the adamantium in his body, which starts to poison him as a result. He is also unable to fully eject and retract his claws, forcing him to physically pull and push them with his other hand in order to expose them or tuck them away.
Professor X, formerly "the most powerful mind on the planet", is suffering from Alzheimer's and must repeatedly take medication to prevent himself from having seizures, which cause him to unwillingly harm everyone around him with his powers. He is also no longer the optimistic leader that would comfort and advise Logan, becoming a senile old man who is constantly struggling with depression.
Whether or not Wolverine will appear after this film. One half believes that X-23 may become his permanent female replacement, while the other half still wants Logan to appear, but played by a new actor. Arguments for having X-23 replace Wolverine that the X-Men Film Series is too Wolverine-centric, and that by retiring Wolverine would finally allow other characters like X-23 to grow. Furthermore, such proponents for retiring Wolverine would argue that it would be hard forany potential replacement to measure up to Jackman's performance. Proponents for recasting Wolverine argue that since Wolverine is one of, if not the most famous X-Man, and the X-Men movies tend to sell better when Wolverine is at the forefront (arguable, seeing as Wolverine was at the forefront of every X-Men movie except Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix and First Class, the former of which earned more than six of the other movies in the franchise, including two of Wolverine's three solos). Furthermore, proponents of recasting Wolverine would argue that X-23 would be a little redundant, given their similar power sets and personalities. However, there is a third camp who favor having X-23 be at the forefront for a while and then introduce the recast Wolverine. The Disney purchase of Fox has only added fuel to the debate, by introducing another camp that wants to see the X-Men completely rebooted into the MCU and all previous continuity dropped altogether.
The fact that Hugh Jackman's take on Wolverine never got to wear a comics-accurate version of the costume in this or any other X-Men movie, especially after it was teased in a Deleted Scene for The Wolverine. While there are many who thought that They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot by not at least including the costume in a Fantasy Sequence or a Flashback, others feel that the costume wouldn't translate well to live-action to begin with. There's also another group that would have liked to have seen Hugh Jackman rock the outfit at some point in the movie, but felt as though this movie wouldn't be the place to do it based on the Darker and Edgier and grounded tone that they were going for.
Fans are also divided on whether or not this movie belongs in the same timeline as Days of Future Past. Even though Flip-Flop of God says that it does, see Fanon Discontinuity below for reasons why many don't accept that.
Catharsis Factor: The Reavers are so terrible that it's therapeutic to see Logan and Laura cut them to pieces. Pierce and Rice also meet gruesomely satisfying ends, especially Pierce. After relentlessly pursuing Logan, Xavier, Laura and the X-23 subjects the entire film while being needlessly sadistic in practically every scene he's been in, watching Pierce die a slow, painful and extremely gruesome death at the hands of the very children he's been hunting while pathetically pleading for his life is nothing short of satisfaction.
Dr. Zander Rice is the head of the X-23 experiment. Before heading the X-23 experiment, Rice orchestrates the near-total genocide of mutantkind with a sterilizing virus that eradicates the X-gene, with survivors butchered by his second-in-command, Donald Pierce, and his Reavers to be used for raw material. To create a perfect killing machine afterwards, Rice has numerous women forcibly impregnated with the X-gene afterwards, taking their mutant children afterwards and murdering the women once their use expires. Rice conducts torturous experiments on the children afterwards to breed them into mindless assassins, with full emphasis on treating the children as "things" — a mindset which leads to some of the children committing suicide. Rice ultimately breeds a clone of Logan he dubs X-24 to serve the project's purpose and orders the children all killed, dispatching Pierce to commit further atrocities in his pursuit of the children once they escape. Once Rice himself comes into the fray, Rice looses X-24 onto an innocent family and callously watches as it butchers the entire family and Xavier himself, later rounding up all the children just short of the Canadian border and threatening to kill them all before Logan. Completely devoid of any compassion or feeling towards the subjects of his horrific experiments, Zander Rice ultimately becomes one of the most deplorable characters in the series, mutant or otherwise, in his pursuit to control mutantkind.
Donald Pierce is the psychopathic cyborg in charge of the Reavers, Transigen's military might. As the head of security for Transigen, Pierce took part in the butchering and vivisecting of many mutants for their raw materials, also assisting in the X-23 experiments alongside Zander Rice, entailing the forcible impregnation of women with mutant genes, murdering them after they give birth, then raising the resulting children as tortured lab rats to be turned into submissive slaves and assassins in adulthood. When the children began rebelling and even killing themselves to escape, Pierce was tasked with putting them all down, and proceeded to execute several of the children. After many of the kids escape with the help of the nurses, Pierce tracks down head nurse Gabriela, brutally tortures and murders her, and continues hunting the children — torturing and killing anyone in his way in the process. After he and Rice unleash the vicious X-24 onto a small family to slaughter them all, Pierce lays a trap for the escaped children, rounding them up for a mass execution while beating one into submission before releasing X-24 one last time to kill Logan. Motivated only by power, cruelty, and xenophobia, Donald Pierce is easily one of the most depraved villains Logan has faced, mutant or not.
Draco in Leather Pants: Donald Pierce being a Complete Monster wasn't enough to dissuade some fans from depicting him in fanart and fanfiction as much less of a bastard than he is. Him being portrayed by fashion model Boyd Holbrook made this almost inevitable.
Make no mistake: the film is very much beloved by fans. However, the very depressing setting and ending made many refuse to accept this movie as the chronological finale of the X-Men film series, instead opting for Days of Future Past as the stopping point. Even putting the depressing nature of the story aside, fans argue that seeing Logan as an in-continuity climax does a disservice to major characters like Magneto, Mystique, Rogue, Beast, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Shadowcat, and all the others, who all simply become victims of a bridge dropped on them, not getting a proper finish and climax worthy of them, and it ends up making the franchise more Wolverine-centric than it already is, and the entire X-Men — their struggles, their Rogues Gallery, their universe — become Satellite Characters for one mutant, which kinds of ruins the entire purpose and appeal of the X-Men as a superhero team, as well as Wolverine's Character Development in the original story about a loner who gradually becomes a committed X-Man and team-player.
This also applies to Fox's other works released after Logan as well: aside from Deadpool 2, which spoofed aspects of the film and isn't really beholden to the continuity of the main series and the Wolverine spin-offs, Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants were ignored by a not-insignificant portion of the fanbase, seeing this movie as the true "ending" of this iteration of the franchise. This treatment seemed to even extend to the box office results of those two films — although there were extraneous circumstances, like the Disney-Fox deal and inevitable plan for a franchise reboot dampening interest in both movies, and a global pandemic in the case of the latter — as both flopped at the box office.
Genius Bonus: The decision to use both "Hurt" by Johnny Cash and "I Got A Name" by Jim Croce in the trailers and film make sense from a thematic point of view of this film and Logan's character arc. Johnny Cash was nearing the end of his life when his version of "Hurt" was released, and Jim Croce died before "I Got A Name" was officially released.
Harsher in Hindsight: Six months after the film came out, Wolverine's co-creator Len Wein passed away. It's rather poignant that half a year after Logan's cinematic swan song ends with his death, his co-creator joins him.
In contrast to most models-turned-actors, Boyd Holbrook was praised for playing a genuinely threatening and charismatic villain, with many calling his performance superior to that of Richard E. Grant. Many viewers were actually disappointed when it turned out he wasn't the film's main antagonist.
Also a lot of people were impressed by how Stephen Merchant as Caliban could pull off drama so well.
Some were worried about whether Dafne Keen could carry playing Laura because of the well-known challenges of getting natural performances from child actors, especially in darker and heavier movies. Once the film came out, her portrayal of Laura was heralded as one of the best parts of the film. Even better is that according to James Mangold, a lot of Laura's quirks were thought up by Keen herself, and advised future directors to give her some room to build on her characters.
Much like with Harry Osborn in Spider-Man 3 ten years before, Logan features a death of a film series' version of a long-running character, in this case, the film version of Wolverine. And much like One More Day, released months later in 2007, saw the resurrection of comics!Harry, months after the release of Logan, Marvel Legacy saw the return of comics!Wolverine.
The appearances of the X-Men comics in the movie became this now that 20th Century Fox film studio is owned by Disney, making it a funny case of Celebrity Paradox and a retroactive Product Placement.
Logan tweaks Laura's background slightly, abandoning the cloning aspect of her comics origin, and instead make her a test tube baby mixing Logan's genetic material with an anonymous Mexican girl to serve as the surrogate. Come Hunt for Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda, it's revealed that Sarah, Laura's creator and surrogate in the comics, used her own genetic material as part of the cloning process, making Laura at least partially her biological daughter in a similar fashion.
Ho Yay: Logan and Caliban actually act Like an Old Married Couple, and when Pierce lies to Logan and says he killed Caliban Logan gets pissed and tries to kill him right then and there despite being surrounded by bad guys.
Idiot Plot: Gabriela insists on dragging Logan into the exodus north, even though Transigen is nipping at her heels. Considering the twenty-thousand dollars she's carrying, and the fact that a dozen other child escapees, apparently without cash or adult help, were able to get to North Dakota just fine (even if she doesn't know that herself), her stubbornness on this point seems illogical. Especially when you consider that the delay leads to not just her death, but by extension Logan's, Charles', Caliban's, the Munsons, etc.
It Was His Sled: Wolverine's death. If you were to go any parts of the Internet when this movie came out, you would absolutely find a bunch of jackasses blurting out this event in the comments section, even if the post had nothing to do with this movie.
In case that isn't enough, Deadpool 2. The poster... and the trailer... and the movie itself outright say "They killed Wolverine, this is how they did it (reenacted by Deadpool), and this is the music that played in the background." Hell, the very first shot of the movie is Deadpool spoiling Wolverine's death out of spite for "riding his coattails with the R rating."
Love to Hate: Donald Pierce. He is an absolutely deplorable human being, but his charisma, as well as being played by Boyd Holbrook, has made him so memorable in the eyes of viewers.
"What killed the mutants? The corn age!"note This film reveals why mutants are "gone": Transigen genetically engineered a special form of corn syrup that would eradicate the X-gene in the people who eat it, therefore bringing an end to mutant births. Jokes have been made regarding this odd revelation.
"Wolverine dies." Apparently, the etiquette of not blurting out spoilers became lost to the entire human population as soon as this movie came out, because it was impossible to be on the internet without bumping into several posts saying, well, that. It basically became a meme in itself.
"NOT.OKAY."note Logan reprimanding Laura for attacking a store clerk. This led to a bunch of fanart of Laura doing crazy/dangerous things and Logan angrily saying this to her in response.
Narm Charm: The ending of the film is so corny yet so powerfully done that it can easily become this. Laura turning the cross over Wolverines' grave to an X very nearly crosses over into narm, but the depressing circumstances and out-of-universe knowledge that this is intended to be a farewell to the character make this a heck of a lot more impactful.
Nausea Fuel: Really, all of the violence in this film can qualify. It's not the fast-paced, smooth and stylized kind of action seen in other superhero movies. James Mangold made it explicit in the screenplay that fights were going to be extremely brutal and realistically bloody. Here are a few particularly gruesome moments which stand out:
Logan squeezing the bullets out of his arm, while also trying to cover up fresh wounds, and many not-so-fresh wounds, covered in pus.
Anytime Logan stabs someone through the head (and especially the face). Specifically, the opening scene where Logan impales a guy through the chin, piercing right through his tongue and leaving him spluttering in pain for a few seconds.
Caliban being exposed to the sunlight, burning the skin on his face.
Laura throwing Pierce the severed head of one of his men.
Pretty much all of the violence involving X-24. He stabs Xavier in the heart and slowly retracts his bloodied claws from his chest, he decapitates a rancher, impales Logan through the armpit, gets rammed by a truck straight into a tractor's spikes and then repeatedly gets chunks of his head blown off by a shotgun, and later on impales Logan through a jagged tree stump before finally having half his head blown off by an adamantium bullet.
One-Scene Wonder: The other X-23 test subjects. Any scene where they get to show off their abilities often shows how amazingly powerful they are, and for fans of the X-Men, how their favorite characters still live on.
Rated M for Money: The film has an R-rating and made tons of money because of it — in fact, only one of the PG-13 X-Men (Days of Future Past) earned more than Logan — given the swearing, violence and darker themes all worked in the film's favor.
The shot of Laura holding Logan's hand to comfort him after burying Charles. This was clearly the inspiration for the film's first poster. Ironically the most famous shot, where Logan looks down at her for a long moment after she takes his hand, only appeared in the trailer. He does look at her in the final version of the film, but only briefly before tearing his hand away.
Laura jumping over Logan to tackle a mook, while Logan slices his way through others has appeared in almost every TV spot since it debuted in the second trailer.
Fans are referring to the movie as The Last of Us: X-Men Edition because of the many similarities, such as an old and cynical badass having to watch over a little girl (who is also a Little Miss Badass) in the aftermath of a great catastrophe, and the overall dour and neo-Western look of the film. It's made even funnier by how Wolverine, as he appears in the film◊, bears a downright uncanny resemblance to The Last of Us protagonist Joel◊.
Some note that it's a better one for Warren Ellis' Ruins, which also featured Logan dying of Adamantium poisoning, ended up making the X-Men into total failures and Shoot the Shaggy Dog on the entire franchise.
Tough Act to Follow: Logan is one for the rest of the franchise. It's now the most critically-lauded film in the franchise, edging out Days of Future Past, as well as one of the most profitable relative to its budget.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Donald Pierce and his Reavers. Though Boyd Holbrook's performance has been widely praised, as the film goes on and characters such as Zander Rice and X-24 are brought in, Pierce becomes less and less necessary to the story and characters (neither Laura or Logan are seen reacting to his death), and the Reavers themselves are changed from being full-body conversion cyborgs to simple humans with a few cybernetic replacements that don't give them any real enhanced strength or abilities, leading them to be easily slaughtered in every confrontation with Logan and Laura. Some viewers felt that, if they had at least made Pierce more robotic in order to pose a genuine threat to Logan, he would have been a more threatening Big Bad and there'd be no need to suddenly drag X-24 into the film out of nowhere.
Regarding the hidden villain of the movie. While some were hoping that X-24 would secretly be a new villain like Omega Red or Daken, the character turns out to be a younger clone of Logan devoid of any personality. Not helping are the similarities to the X-Men Origins take on Deadpool, although it's almost universally agreed that X-24 is better.
Internet reviewers Brad Jones and Martin Thomas felt that Donald Pierce and the Reavers got a little sidelined the moment Zander Rice and X-24 showed up. They pointed out that the movie would have been better had it only focused on Pierce and his crew hunting down Logan and Laura rather than a random villain that showed up during the final act.
True Art Is Angsty: In this movie we have a grim and bleak world where Logan is in pain from a failing Healing Factor, Xavier is senile, and there is no sign of the peaceful and prosperous "School for Gifted Youngsters" as seen at the end of Days of Future Past. Surely it is no coincidence that this is part of the reason why critics have so heavily embraced the film.
Rictor from X-Factor appears as the de facto leader of the surviving X-23 escapees. Nobody was expecting him to show up in this movie.
To say nothing of X-24, whose presence in the film was kept to the absolute minimum in trailers and nowhere in promo materials.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Xavier accepting the Munson family's dinner invitation against Logan's wishes is seen as this by many. Sure, it's being polite and Xavier found a moment of peace. The problem is that they are being chased by the Reavers who not only found them easily the first time but proved that they are ruthless killers. Xavier happily accepts it anyway knowing the danger. It leads to not only Xavier's death but the death of the innocent Munson family as well. In the end, Xavier comes across as selfish and reckless.
Visual Effects of Awesome: For a $90 million dollar budget, the visual effects look great. But special mention goes to Donald Pierce's robotic hand which, according to Mangold, is a mixture of CGI and practical effects. Seriously watch the movie, it's seamless.
Also, everyone usually discusses about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Blade Runner 2049 when talking about digitally recreating the faces of an actor, yet no one ever talks about the bit where X-24 walks around Logan when they first see each other in the Munson house because it was that seamless.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Like Deadpool (2016) before it, Loganis a superhero movie... but one filled with enough Gorn and Nightmare Fuel to keep kids away. Also, unlike Deadpool, it's not going to be a joke-a-minute, slap-happy ride, but a much more grim, dour film. It may also be the reason why the name Wolverine is nowhere to be found on any of the promotional material — to prevent unsuspecting parents from taking their little kids to the movie, thinking it might be like the other X-Men movies in terms of content. At least one theater chain included warning labels about the movie's violence at the ticket booth.
In some Latin American countries like Mexico, the movie is given a C rating, which means only audiences from Age 18 onwards are allowed to see it and they must show their ID in order to show they are old enough to see the movie, which would prevent any kid under the age of 18 to see the movie.
The fact that China's censored version cut violent and sexual content, such as all head stabbings, does not help matters.
The use of genetically-modified corn as a means of directly rewriting the human genome and eliminating the mutant race, while not intended as a political statement, nonetheless has significant resonance in an era where the risk of GMOs has become a subject of debate.
The portrayal of automation and the way corporations make use of automated tools to build large agribuses that squeeze out the small independent farmers has likewise been noted as quite prescient, with Logan arguably being the first mainstream film to tackle this subject.
The first trailer won over a number of people who weren't looking forward to "yet another Wolverine movie". It helped that it gave the impression of a gritty Western-style action thriller rather than standard FX-laden superhero fare.
It has won a large number of people over by making it absolutely clear that we would finally get to see Wolverine's claws as they were meant to be used — bloodily, messily, and on mooks.
After the first forty minutes of the film was screened for critics, the response was overwhelmingly positive, with many claiming that this is the Wolverine film audiences have been waiting 17 years for. Jackman's and Stewart's performances were both highly praised, as was the gritty, worn, neo-Western tone, and X-23 steals every scene she's in.
Laura brings her comics woobieness with her as she crosses over into the films: Born in a lab, abused, treated as a thing and not a person. Her primary caretaker and the closest she has in the film 'verse to a mother figure is murdered trying to spirit her to safety. She clearly suffers poor emotional development due to her upbringing, and demonstrates little ability to function in normal society. Her father only grudgingly helps her — and at one point is even willing to abandon her to her fate before he's left with no choice but to help her — and is often short and harsh towards her. When he finally seems to be on the verge of warming up to her, he then pulls a Break Her Heart to Save Her, leading to them parting on bad terms, despite the fact she has come to love him in their short time together. And then in the end, she's forced to watch him die in her arms and bury him.
Logan himself. He's in constant pain due to his fading Healing Factor and injuries accumulated before and during the film, and slowly dying from metal poisoning from his adamantium skeleton. On top of that, he's lost everyone he cares for except Charles and Caliban, both of whom die during the film. He has trouble connecting to Laura but finally accepts her as his daughter right before he dies in her arms. All this after 200 years of war, tragedy, and hardship.
Anyone besides the Reavers, Pierce and Zander Rice may as well count towards this trope.