Every once in a while, a female-driven film is so successful that it wakes studios up a little more to the reality that women actually watch movies. Bridesmaids paved the way for more raunchy female comedies; The Hunger Games and Twilight gave us a slew of YA copycats (and the subsequently more interesting careers of Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart); and now Wonder Woman is inspiring studios to place more emphasis on their female superheroes. One of those heroes could be X-23, aka Laura, Hugh Jackman’s young mutant sidekick in Logan.
One of the main draws of this year’s Logan was the new mutant X-23, otherwise known as Laura, a usually quiet, sullen child who turns into a whirlwind of tooth and claw when the mood strikes. Logan’s Laura was played by the fantastic newcomer Dafne Keen, but there was a time during auditions when the role might have gone to a more recognizable face: Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown.
Logan stands out from other superhero movies because of its violence, definitely, but also because of its very elegantly understated melancholy. It’s barely a superhero movie at times, instead relying on emotion and character to drive a lot of its scenes, instead of a lot of CGI-laden action sequences. But, if you can believe it, director James Mangold actually had an opening prologue that would’ve made the movie even sadder.
One of the most impressive parts about Logan was one of its most closely guarded secrets: Hugh Jackman not only played the title character, he played his evil double too; a perfect clone of Wolverine known as X-24. This new character wasn’t featured in any of the marketing materials or even alluded to in any way. When he shows up late in the film he is a shock, and an effective extension of the movie’s themes about a man wrestling with his nature as a killer (and, possibly, a monster).