Logan filmmaker James Mangold talks about Hugh Jackman's Logan needing to confront his fear of intimacy before his death. The film has been lauded by critics and fans alike for its thoughtful storytelling and impeccable acting chops from Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keene, making each of their interactions emotionally-packed. It's quickly become an instant comic book film classic, landing an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Mangold has been going around doing press rounds for Logan after it scored its Oscar nod and during conversations with several media outlets, the filmmaker has been very candid on his thoughts not just of his film but the state of the comic book film genre in general. He has sounded off on post-credit scenes on two separate occasions and criticized the popularity of Easter Eggs, while also offering great insights on the creative process of making such a powerful film as Logan. More recently, he opened up about the need to make Jackman's final hurrah as the cigar-smoking mutant Rated R. Now, he delves a bit deeper into the film, especially with the characterization of the titular hero.
Speaking with The Credits, Mangold spoke about one thing that needed to be part of Logan which was seeing the usually unfazed hero come to terms with his greatest fear: intimacy. The movie achieved this by putting him uncomfortable places where he didn't have any choice but to deal with other people that he reluctantly cared a whole lot about:
“Given that this was Hugh Jackman’s last Wolverine movie, the question I needed to answer was, ‘What is Logan most frightened of?’ He’s not frightened of the end of the world, he might welcome it. He’s not frightened of his own death, he might welcome it. He’s not consumed with vengeance for a specific villain, he’d rather live life in isolation. But it dawned on me: Logan is completely phobic about intimacy.”
“We wanted to put Wolverine in a much more vulnerable state than we’ve ever seen him in, so we created this character piece where Logan’s needed by an ailing father figure and he’s needed by a daughter. This makes him supremely uncomfortable.”
For a guy who has been living longer than a normal human being and considering everything that he has gone through, it's understandable that Logan would feel this way. Coping with all his life tragedies this way makes him more humane and gives people more reason to sympathize with his character. While we're still uncertain what really went down in the year prior to the events of the film, the fact that the mutants are gone and he and Professor X are forced to live a secluded life provides enough reason for us to believe that whatever happened was pretty devastating for both of them. In the end, after numerous attempts to pose himself as indifferent, his dying words to Laura is proof that his tough demeanor is nothing but a facade.
Much has been said about how Logan revolutionized the superhero genre, but while it centers on a superhero, the movie is simply a great character piece. A fitting swan song to Jackman's version of the mutant that he's been playing for 17 years. Replacing him as the new incarnation of the character will be difficult, but with such a memorable send-off that basically made everyone love him more, whoever takes over his adamantium claws will have some huge shoes to fill.
Source: The Credits