Just before the holidays, 20th Century Fox held a special presentation for their upcoming 2017 line-up.
We’ve already shared some of the footage that was shown, but clearly, one of the big surprises was when it was announced that they would be showing the first 45 minutes of the upcoming Wolverine movie, Logan.
While we’re not going to go frame for frame or into too much detail about what we saw, as to not ruin the experience, we can talk in general about what happens that differentiates Logan from the previous Wolverine films.
The movie opens with Hugh Jackman’s Logan working as a limo driver in Texas, clearly having given up being Wolverine. He has let his beard grow out fully, so he doesn’t even really look like Logan anymore. A bunch of street thugs try to rob his limo of their tires, so he fights them off, and we get our first signs that this is going to be a tougher, grittier character, using his claws in far more violent ways such as slicing off an attacker’s entire arm, literally disarming him. This was the first hint we got that the movie might be R-rated. (The other was when a woman partying in the back of Logan’s limo flashes her breasts.)
Early in the movie, we get our first look at Boyd Holbrook’s Donald Pierce, a longtime X-Men foe introduced as part of the Hellfire Club during the Claremont/Byrne run, but who later branched out on his own to lead a team of cyborg mercenaries called Reavers. This Pierce has the comic character’s mechanical arms but his gang doesn’t have the same robotic traits of the characters in the comics. This is another telltale sign that director James Mangold is trying to keep the new Wolverine more grounded. Pierce is clearly from Texas, going by his accent, which also helped to solidify the Western comparisons that are likely to be made due to the wilderness environment.
Logan ends up travelling down to Mexico, and there, he’s reunited with a much older, Charles Xavier (once again played by Patrick Stewart), who is in bad shape and living in a deserted building next to a downed water tank. Xavier is assisted by Stephen Merchant as a rather dilapidated-looking Caliban (the character was previously played by Tómas Lemarquis in last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse). Through their conversations, we learn that this story takes place 25 years after the last trace of mutants, the living ones having gone into hiding and no new ones having been found. If you know Caliban from the comics, his mutant power is to find mutants similar to Cerebro.
Logan soon encounters a young Mexican girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) travelling with her mother Maria, who doesn’t speak any English. (There’s a fun moment where we see that the girl is reading an X-Men comic with cover art similar to the animated show that shows how most people know Wolverine as a celebrity from these comic book stories.)
Pierce has followed Logan down to Mexico with his Reavers, and we get our first casualty among one of Logan’s allies. They’re also trying to get their hands on Laura, but they soon learn that the young girl has similar abilities that allows her to fight off Pierce’s men, including her own set of claws.
As the footage ends with Logan realizing that Laura may have some relation to him, the four of them pile into Logan’s car for a journey that will make up the rest of the film. That comparison may be why Mangold compared the movie to Little Miss Sunshine during a brief Q and A that followed the footage. He also mentioned that the idea of Logan is to explore what happens when a legend is made human.
The footage looked great, taking the gritty wasteland look of the Old Man Logan comics by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, but not looking nearly as futuristic or apocalyptic as that or Mad Max. Besides the fact that the film is even more violent than 2013’s The Wolverine, it certainly looks like Mangold was deliberately going for more practical action and not relying as much on CG as other X-Men and superhero movies.
The cinematography by John Mathieson, who has worked with Ridley Scott and Guy Ritchie, looks so stark and compelling that Fox even handed out a coffee table book of random black and white images, although the introductory quote from the 1953 Western Shane might have been telling what some of Mangold’s other influences were.
The next day, Collider had a chance to sit down with Mangold for the following interview.