How We All Saw 'Logan' Eleven Years Ago (SPOILERS)
HEY, SPOILERS. I AM ABOUT TO SPOIL THE MOVIE LOGAN FOR YOU. THE WHOLE MOVIE. DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT THE MOVIE LOGAN SPOILED FOR YOU. THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING ASSORTMENT OF WORDS YOU ARE ABOUT TO INGEST WITH YOUR EYES...
...Not that it matters. Because while the super R-rated and somber Logan has a solid 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it actually wasn't all that great of a movie. Sorry, I know that upsets you, gentle reader, but if you've seen the way-better film that Logan completely ripped off you'd probably agree with me.
That film is Children Of Men. You know, the really, really good 2006 Alfonso Cuaron film about a not-too-distant future where our resources are limited and women can no longer make babies. Here are a couple photos of Michael Caine making a stoned hamster face to jog your memory.
Wait, shit, those are his Instagram photos.
It might not be the fairest of metrics, but when you compare the two films you not only see how uncanny Logan's plot is, but how fundamentally lacking it is in basic story structure and character development. Think of it like comparing Jackie Chan to Chuck Norris... if Chuck Norris was also two feet tall and incontinent.
Both Movies Begin In A Grizzled, R-Rated Future Earth
Logan is set in the year 2029. Children Of Men is set in the year 2027.
In both stories, our main character works a menial job in a barren future devoid of resources. Animals are going extinct (in Logan they mention there are no longer tigers) and while civilization still exists, it does so in an aura of dusty desperation.
Violence is abundant, which is why both films require an R-rating. The difference is that Children Of Men knows how to use their rating, whereas Logan spends the first 20 minutes shoehorning more "fucks" than a little kid who just discovered the word. At one point a lady flashes Logan her boobs and it adds nothing to the plot beyond the studio saying "Hey look, we're rated R now!"
Both opening scenes feature an act of limb-tearing violence. The difference being that Logan's is a sequence where he brutally murders hubcap thieves (seems a bit much, but sure) versus a bomb going off in Children Of Men. One is horrifying while the other is played for action gasps.
Spoiler: This woman does not show her boobs.
Both Characters Are Ex-Heroes Who Turned To Booze
Logan is fa-king grizzled. Nasty cat drains flammables faster than Truckasaurus, spending the first act wafting from bottle to bottle like a drifter genie. The film really wants us to know what kind of an alcoholic Logan is... which is strange when that information ultimately amounts to nothing.
Meanwhile, Clive Owen's character in Children Of Men is also an ex-hero (in this case an activist) who has sunk into the depths of whiskey sadness. After spending the film gulping from a half pint, his alcoholism comes to a subtle conclusion when he's forced to deliver a baby in less-than-ideal conditions.
"Are you sure your it's your water that broke and not my Johnny Walker bottle?"
In a moment of panic, C-Owes yanks out his familiar bottle, goes in for a sip, and opts to use it as a hand sanitizer instead. He doesn't make a big show of it, but it's enough of a gesture to see that his character is beginning to crawl out of his stanky rye pit. No such moment of catharsis exists with Logan, who simply stops drinking halfway through the movie like it never happened.
Both Characters Are Reluctantly Tasked With Protecting A Young Lady (By Another Lady Who Dies)
The plot of Logan kicks into gear when he is dragged into helping a woman harbor a young, quiet girl. The caretaker is then brutally murdered and so Booze-Wolf is forced to protect her from evil men who want to use her for their own sinister plans.
This is the exact same catalyst in Children Of Men, when Clive Owen is dragged into helping Julianne Moore harbor a young, also-quiet girl. Moore is then brutally murdered, forcing The Cliver to reluctantly protect her from bad guys who want to use her for their own sinister plans.
Only when Julianne Moore dies, it's unexpected and emotionally devastating for the main character. We spend time watching him buckled over in tears. He's helpless. In over his head. It's sad, awkward, and frightening to witness, like a clown suicide or Hannibal Lecter doing his taxes.
Just thank me for not making this a GIF.
But in Logan, the murdered woman is a total stranger. There's no moment of weakness or fear. Her death isn't emotional, because ultimately she's just there so Wolverine can find a perfectly edited video on her cellphone explaining the plot. Thank goodness she found time to sit down with iMovie and churn out a short-form documentary while running for her life!
Both Characters Are Fighting The Exact Same Cause
The plot of Logan is that there hasn't been a new mutant in like 20 years.
The plot of Children Of Men is that there hasn't been a new pregnancy in like 20 years.
Guess what happens in both films?
Yep. And then both heroes spend the film fighting to protect them and bring them to safety -- which in both cases take the form of a fabled eden that the grizzled hero doubts even exists. In Children Of Men, it's called the Human Project. In Logan, it's literally called Eden, because the writers apparently didn't think we'd figure it out otherwise.
Both Characters Have An Old Mentor Who Dies Around The Second Act
Sorry, but Professor X dies in this film... which I guess is sad for anyone who didn't see him die three films ago.
"He's in a better place now."
As seen in the trailers, the X-Man spends most of the film flinging his crotchetiness like decrepit monkey feces. He's senile and suffers from some kind of brain disease that's causing ground-shaking psychic seizures. The character is devoid of hope, just a wheelchair-bound dry sack of sad. And like Logan's alcoholism, the film never pays this off. Instead, Professor X is stabbed to death by a Logan-clone while crying in bed -- at no point contributing much to the progression of the story or doing anything heroic.
And yeah, there's yet another Weapon X Program clone-slave in this film.
Lord knows we needed more of this.
Compare to Michael Caine (Clive Owen's old man friend in Children Of Men) who, along with his torture-traumatized wife, dies in a moment of defiance that fits with his activist background. It's not much, but it sure beats being stabbed while weeping into a pillowcase.
It should also be noted that both scenes happen in a farmhouse-like setting... only in Logan it's a stranger's farmhouse they decide to spend the night in despite knowing they are being hunted. This results in the entire family living there being killed before Logan fucks off to the next set piece never showing any guilt or remorse.
Both Characters Find A Brief Haven With Unfamiliar Allies
Before getting to the third act, Logan takes a brief pause due to severe medical problems (Wolverine is pretty messed up at this point). After a brief visit to Dr. Deus Ex Machina, they find refuge at a camp of mutant children, who further heal him (with magic green syrup) and help them on their journey to the Canadian border.
Now replace mutant kids with these folk in Children Of Men:
"I am the child of a man."
After their own medical emergency (the aforementioned birth) Clive Owen's character also finds refuge with a few allies of the Human Project, who help them on their journey to the country's border. Maybe he'll make it after all!
Aaaaaand Both Characters Die Saving The Young Lady
Nah. Logan is impaled on a tree and dies right at the Canadian border while protecting his child friends. They all gather around his grave and mourn him before the film just fucking ends right there. At no point does anyone seem weirded out that he died from such a minimal injury (seriously, didn't he survive a nuclear bomb in one of these things?)
Clive Owen also dies from a gunshot wound in Children Of Men. Only since he's a mortal who hasn't come back to life 50 times, it's way more of a big deal.
"No regrets... except King Arthur."
So to sum it up, a grizzled ex-hero dies saving the last hope of a species while watching a parade of people die in the process. The difference is that Children Of Men knows how to properly portray these deaths and pay off the characters... whereas Logan looks like it has emotional weight, but ultimately becomes just an average Wolverine sequel... only with zero fun, and slightly more Johnny Cash.
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