The X-Men: Movies vs Comics (Pt. 4 – LOGAN Edition)
Over the past few weeks we have obsessively compared the characters in the X-Men films to their comic counterparts. To follow up the articles covering the first two Wolverine films we’ve got the newest and easily the BEST part of the solo trilogy: Logan.
If you need a catch up, here or the guides to X-Men, X2, The Last Stand and the other solo Wolverine movies. The only character not included today is Professor X, because he’s not much different from his write-up in the first entry (albeit with a new found love of the F-Bomb).
OLD MAN LOGAN
Played by Hugh Jackman
The Comics: We don’t usually cover repeated characters in the sequels unless there’s a major shift in how they’re presented. In this case it’s the basis for the character coming from a different source. Rather than the usual canon Wolverine this movie draws upon the alternate future character who appeared in the ‘Old Man Logan’ series. In this future the villains of the Marvel Universe have all joined forces and the smartest leaders of the group organised them all to face heroes they didn’t usually face, but the ones they had the best chance of taking down. The co-ordinated strike hit every group of heroes simultaneously and wiped almost all of them off the map. Red Skull took the White House and the USA was split between Magneto, Doctor Doom and other major foes. The land turned into a wild frontier dustbowl.
Logan is one of two remaining X-Men, the others having been killed on the day of attack. It’s not initially known how the villains ‘broke’ Logan (and we’re not giving it away here) but he has long hung up his yellow spandex. He refuses to go by the name Wolverine, won’t fight back when attacked and will not under any circumstances unsheathe his claws. he joins a blind Hawkeye (in the Spider-Buggy, naturally) on a cross-country road trip to deliver some valuable goods, encountering all manner of obstacles, friends and enemies. Logan is only in it for the cash to pay rent to the Hulk Gang lest they murder his wholesome family unit. It’s a bleak and gritty story and it focuses on Logan rediscovering his superhero persona.
The Movie: On the surface the movie Logan looks to have the same character. Logan has shorter hair, removing his trademark pointed style, and he has a beard. Movie Logan isn’t as old as the comic version and doesn’t have his farmhouse and family. Instead he is caring for a deteriorating Professor X and saving up his Uber money to buy a boat to escape the world further. The biggest change on a character level is that while the comics Old Man Logan retains his compassion but lacks his motivation as a hero the movie Logan lacks his compassion but is willing to throw down. They wouldn’t take away his iconic claws for the movie, so it’s his need to protect innocents that he lost.
Played by Dafne Keen
The Comic: If there’s one member of the X-Men who is best described as a ‘killing machine’, it’s Wolverine. So when a company who operates outside of the law want to genetically create a living weapon it makes sense for them to use Wolverine as a template. After many successful tries they found that the deteriorated Y chromosome in their sample was an obstacle so lead geneticist Dr. Sarah Kinney went against orders to duplicate the X chromosome and create a female clone. Kinney carried the child to term and X-23, or Laura, was the result. Laura was raised as a heartless killer and hired out to the highest bidder to perform assassinations. Like Logan she has an effective healing factor and three claws – although Laura has only two on her hands and one of each foot. The company bonded adamantium to her claws but held off on the rest of her skeletal system until she was older.
When Zander Rice ordered Laura to murder a small child she spared the target. This indicated to Dr. Kinney that Laura wasn’t beyond redemption and planned their escape. Dr. Kinney didn’t survive the violent break-out, but Laura was free to seek out Wolverine.
The Movie: This is one character who is done perfectly. I don’t know where they found an actor who looks so much like a 12 year girl version of Hugh Jackman and is a talented performer. Movie X-23 has been aged down significantly, with her being more of a pre-teen instead of a 16 year old. Like the comic version, movie Laura very rarely speaks and tends to stare people down rather than interact. She’s a very agile fighter and spends much of her combat spinning, flipping and leaping through the air – she’s like a very pointy tornado. Aside from some adjustments to the origin story, such as Dr. Kinney being replaced with a nurse. Overall this is one of the most accurate depictions of an X-Men character in film.
DR. ZANDER RICE
Played by Richard E. Grant
The Comic: Zander Rice is a scientist who was introduced as part of X-23’s origin story. He was partly raised and mentored by Dr. Martin Sutter, the head of the living weapons program, and his father was killed by Wolverine during the Weapon X program. This event, along with his dislike of Dr. Sarah Kinney, made Rice an angry and vicious man. He only referred to X-23 as a ‘pet’ or an ‘animal’ and created a trigger scent that would cause X-23 to fly into a mindless rage. He eventually used X-23 to murder his mentor, lover and son in addition to Dr. Kinney when she tried to escape with X-23. When Laura caught up with Rice on the way out of the facility she retracted her claws to beat him to a pulp before leaving him to die in an explosion.
The Movie: The role Rice plays in the creation of X-23 is accurate but background of the character and other associated figures have been trimmed down. Zander Rice is shown to be a heartless figure, caring more for his science than ethics and orders all the children born out of his work to be killed after their use is met. Whilst he’s hardly a good person in the film he’s not as cartoonishly evil as he is in the comics.
Played by Stephen Merchant
The Comic: Caliban is a member of the Morlocks, a group of mutants who have set up a segregated society in the New York sewers rather than face persecution and discrimination above. Pale white in colour, skinny and with two protrusions sitting above his large yellow eyes, Caliban does stand out as a mutant. He also has jumbled speech patterns wherein he speaks in the third person and has only limited social skills. It’s through his ability to detect other mutants that the X-Men and the Morlocks first meet as his power led him to a nightclub occupied by members of the team. Through a series of unusual circumstances Caliban attempted to marry Kitty Pryde, escaped the mutant massacre to join X-Factor and then joined Apocalypse who gave him massively enhanced strength.
The Movie: This one is somewhat inaccurate, but he fits the film very well. His ability to sense other mutants and his albino skin is accurate, but he doesn’t have the protrusions in his forehead. The comics never depicted him as being so sensitive to sunlight that he’d immediately sustain third degree burns from exposure. He also lacks the distinct speech patterns of his comic counterpart, as well as the childlike demeanour.
Played by Boyd Holbrook
The Comic: Donald Pierce first appeared a high ranking member of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle where he held the title of White Bishop. At the time he was the only known non-mutant member of the Inner Circle and instead is enhanced using cybernetics. Ironically he hates mutants and would rather see them all killed off and plots against the rest of Inner Circle. This backfires on Pierce and he is imprisoned, later breaking free and joining The Reavers. Along with them, former Hellfire Club guards and Lady Deathstrike they attacked and tortured Wolverine before crucifying him. Since them Pierce has worked with various teams in his mission against mutantkind.
The Movie: Firstly, Pierce does not wear his full length bright pink frock coat he favoured in the comics. Shame. He still holds a leadership role with the Reavers but his other past alliance don’t play a role. While in the comics Pierce creates cybernetics and supplies them to his allies it’s not clear where they come from in the movie. It’s implied that such enhancements aren’t uncommon, but he is seen repairing his cyborg hand himself. Whilst hardly pleasant in the movie his motivation has shifted from fanaticism to professionalism as Pierce and the Reavers are a private security firm in Logan.
Played by a Whole Bunch of Guys
The Comic: During the 1980s the X-Men went through what is generally referred to as their ‘Australian Era’. The team were thought to have been killed and went into hiding in the Australian outback. Here they came across The Reavers, a group of cybernetically enhanced thieves who coerced mutant teleporter Gateway to transport them around the world to loot. The Reavers were set up in an underground complex beneath a ghost town before the X-Men ousted them and made it their own headquarters.
The three remaining Reavers – Skullbuster, Bonebreaker and Pretty Boy – teamed up with Donald Pierce, himself recently escaped from incarceration by the Hellfire Club. They added three former guards from the Hellfire club (Cole, Macon and Reese) who had been carved up by Wolverine and given cyborg enhancements by Pierce and eventually Lady Deathstrike.
Under the guidance of Pierce and having already been slighted by the X-Men the newly formed Reavers were mostly concerned with revenge. Although the X-Men had left Outback by the time the Reavers returned they did capture and viciously torture Wolverine. Form there they went on to a long career as Marvel villains.
The Movie: From the get go it’s pretty clear that they’re scaling back the design of the Reavers in Logan. Some of the comic Reavers are more mechanical than man and feature robotic limbs that can extend and deploy weapons. The most visually striking of the Reavers – Bonebreaker – is actually a tank from the waist down making him something akin to a robo-centaur. The Reavers of the movie only have the occasional mechanical limb or hand and they function more as a prosthetic limb than any kind of weapon. In spite of this some of the movie Reavers are clearly modelled on some of the comic characters. The credits reveal that some are named Bonebreaker and Pretty Boy, and if you’re familiar with the comics you’ll be able to pick these ones out from the crowd based on their appearance. The only other major difference is, like Pierce, they’re private contractors and not criminals or fanatics.
Played by Jason Genao
The Comic: While Chris Claremont was writing the X-Men the original five characters had moved on with their lives. Marvel, on the other hand, wanted them back in the pages. Enter ‘X-Factor’, a return of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel and Iceman as a seperate team posing as mutant hunters while actually rescuing at risk mutants. One of the mutants that take in is Rictor (whose surname is actually Richter), who ironically has the power to generate seismic shockwaves from his hands. When he’s found by X-Factor he’s being held captive by anti-mutant group the ‘Right’, who are torturing Rictor into unleashing his earthquake causing powers on San Fransisco so they can pin the blame on mutants. Rictor is very young when joining the X-Family, and hasn’t got any real family on his own. He took a long time to work out his own sense of identity and trust his peers, but with the encouragement of Boom Boom and Rusty he becomes an essential member of the New Mutants and X-Force.
The Movie: Without the name Rictor you’d be unlikely to connect this character with the one in the comics. He’s younger than his comic counterpart, more confident and collected and fits a leader role for the group of mutants escaping from Dr. Rice. For a long portion of the movie I thought that Rictor was going to be another Jubilee situation – name checked but no use of powers, but he pulls them out eventually. Rather than blasting seismic waves from his fingers movie Rictor simply summons a shift in the ground.
Ok, that was actually pretty quick…benefit of the solo adventure, I guess. Now it’s time to engage the way back machine because it’s prequel time!