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This whole article will include SPOILERS for James Mangold's Logan! Stop reading now if you haven't seen it yet. Come back later after you have seen it, for a lively conversation.
The final shot of James Mangold's Logan is, in my opinion, perfect. Our hero has sacrificed himself to save Laura (Dafne Keen) and a small band of young mutants. He knows his body is failing. He wants to confront Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) and Rice (Richard E. Grant). But he knows that doing so will kill him. And it does. Laura, quoting from the classic Western Shane, stands over Logan's grave. As the band of mutants leaves, she tilts the makeshift cross they have fashioned so that it's leaning on its side. It forms the shape of an "X."
I recently had the opportunity to speak to James Mangold about this profound and emotional final shot for Logan, and he explained to me that it's rooted in X-Men history, specifically, the cover shot of The Uncanny X-Men #251. Mangold explained:
Here's the cover. It, too, is mesmerizing.
And with that, Wolverine has left us. And yet, as we know, no one leaves the X-Men universe for very long. The cinematic franchise has found ways to boot and reboot itself time and again, with even Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier dying on screen multiple times. Wolverine may be back, even if Hugh Jackman isn't the one playing him. And now we know where the inspiration for that final shot comes from.
Logan is currently in theaters as we speak.