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Being an almost indestructible killing machine that can recover from any injury, there probably isn't much that Wolverine is afraid of. Live for a couple hundred years, and there really isn't much that can bother you. That was one of the challenges James Mangold was facing when he co-wrote the now Oscar-nominated screenplay for the critically acclaimed Logan. It's hard to write a character-driven movie if your character is always fearless, but Mangold eventually released that Logan isn't afraid of anything mortal -- he's afraid of intimacy. Here's how Mangold cracked the code:
Given that this was Hugh Jackman's last Wolverine movie, the question I needed to answer was, 'What is Logan most frightened of?' He's not frightened of the end of the world, he might welcome it. He's not frightened of his own death, he might welcome it. He's not consumed with vengeance for a specific villain, he'd rather live life in isolation. But it dawned on me: Logan is completely phobic about intimacy.
Logan may not have gotten the Best Picture nomination that some were hoping for, but the movie did break serious ground by being the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Screenplay. Considering that most superhero films aren't exactly praised for their writing, this is a pretty major deal and it's thanks to the hard work put in by James Mangold and co-writers Scott Frank and Michael Green. The group crafted a well-paced, compelling, and character-driven script, but it wasn't without its challenges. Obviously, a movie where the main character isn't afraid of anything isn't particularly exciting to watch, so part of the job was finding what this centuries-old warrior was afraid of.
James Mangold told The Credits that because Logan was Hugh Jackman's final stint as the character, he knew he really had to push the script and go in a direction that previous Wolverine movies hadn't. I would say that he accomplished this on several levels, with an Oscar nomination as proof. Part of the challenge was finding Logan's fears and confronting them, and for Logan nothing is worse than suddenly having to be an emotional anchor for a little girl.
One of the best parts of Logan is his growing relationship with his kinda-sorta daughter, Laura. It's really compelling to watch as Logan is forcibly thrust into a family unit and must take care of both Laura and Professor Xavier. It's some really good emotional stuff that pays off in a big way. The jury's still out on if Logan will actually take the Academy Award, but it definitely deserves to.
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