One Great Scene: LOGAN
In this series of articles, we’re going to do a deep-dive on one knockout scene from a great movie. Today’s movie is LOGAN. The scene is when Wolverine pays a visit to Professor Xavier, who is suffering from dementia (here’s a link to the scene as a refresher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv3cU4-iwv4).
The scene starts with Logan going into a massive tank where Professor Xavier has been locked away. It’s immediately both grounded in reality and mythic in stature. Professor Xavier, an old man with dementia, is so powerful as a mutant, still, that his version of a nursing home is a giant steel tank.
Logan enters to discover Professor Xavier ranting incoherently and then describing the new Queso-Lupa at Taco Bell. He asks Logan who he is. He fights Logan about taking his medication. He’s vulnerable, weak, and very recognizable to anyone who has had an elderly family member go through dementia.
Then he has a seizure, and instantly incapacitates Logan. He’s still incredible powerful. Logan has to inject Professor Xavier with a sedative to save himself. Notable also here is that Logan always calls Professor Xavier “Charles.”
All this combines a grounded aesthetic with the mutant mythology the audience knows well this deep into the X-Men franchise. It’s quietly revolutionary. Everything about this scene explodes decades of X-Men depictions.
The character of Professor X, or Charles Xavier, has always been the wisest of the X-Men. He started the X-Men. He has the wisdom to lead, to make the hard choices, and is a mentor and source of knowledge to all the other characters.
The mansion the X-Men operate out of in basically all depictions of this intellectual property is, for lack of a better word, “fancy.” It’s expansive, upscale, a sign of wealth and power and prestige. In LOGAN, Professor Xavier’s tank is drab and dusty, as is the compound where he lives.
Wolverine, or Logan, has always been grumpy and ornery in all depictions of the character. But LOGAN takes that to a different level. Logan is grumpy and ornery here because he’s saddled with taking care of what is effectively his grandfather, in figurative terms.
This is what’s so brilliant about this scene and the film LOGAN in general. What is literally occurring in the scene? Two mutants are interacting with each other, and showing their mutant powers. Xavier’s seizure seems to alter time, incapacitating Logan. Logan is such a powerful mutant that he’s able (barely) to reach Xavier and sedate him.
But what’s happening for the viewing audience is they are connecting emotionally to “taking care of my grandfather.” Versions of this scene, albeit much milder ones, have happened in homes and nursing homes and it’s likely that most of the audience will recognize the scene as approximating caring for their aging fathers or grandfathers or great-grandfathers.
Is this a great scene? Let us know in the comments below.