This week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to 2003’s sequel to X-Men. Bringing back most of the cast of director Bryan Singer‘s first film, X2 explored the origins of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) with a series of flashbacks which would be further explored in the best-forgotten X-Men Origins: Wolverine six years later. Although Magneto (Ian McKellen) returns, he’s not the villain his time around. Instead the villain is William Stryker (Brian Cox) who is using his own son’s mutant abilities to start a war against mutants in hopes of wiping them out completely. His maneuvering includes brainwashing Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) to try and assassinate the President and attacking the X-Men in their own home.
Finally learning that bigger isn’t always better (see X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: The Last Stand), 20th Century Fox has moved away from the super-sized team film. With both Logan and Legion (FX’s new series based around the X-Men character of the same name), the X-Men universe is taking some interesting turns with a darker tone and smaller character-driven stories. Logan may not be as entertaining as Deadpool, but it definitely ranks as one of the better X-Men films (and easily the best of the Wolverine standalone movies).
Set more than a decade in the future, Logan gives us a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) we haven’t seen before. Inspired by Old Man Logan, the Logan we see has aged considerably since the events of Days of Future Past and his healing factor has begun to fail him. In a world where mutants are all but extinct, Logan works as a limousine driver making ends meet and keeping himself, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) out of the limelight. Of course that changes when a young girl (Dafne Keen) with very similar abilities to his own shows up on his doorstep hunted by those who want her dead.
Imagine the most powerful person on the planet might be an escaped mental patient. Taking a far different tact to introduce us to mutant than any of the X-Men films (which were very quick to introduce and explain the abilities of each character), “Chapter 1” of Legion is more methodical as we witness David Haller (Dan Stevens) interviewed about recent events which led to the diagnosed schizophrenic leaving the mental institution. The episode slowly reveals to us, and eventually David, that the government agents are lying to him and know and understand more about David than he does himself. In the scenes of the institution we meet David’s best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) and his girlfriend Syd (Rachel Keller), both of whom it appears will continue to play important roles for him outside of the institution.