- Logan beautifully portrays the strong bond between Wolverine and Professor Xavier.
- Logan accurately represents the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on elderly people, shedding light on the struggles those with the condition face.
- Logan showcases the importance of family and love in the face of Alzheimer’s.
When Logan came out in 2017, most fans believed they would be seeing Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine for the last time. Because of this, the movie showed a new side of two of the most famous X-Men characters — Logan and Professor Xavier. Logan beautifully portrays the strong bond between Wolverine and Professor Xavier, highlighting the sacrifices made in caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. By presenting the mental and physical decline of Professor X, Logan opens up a discussion about the struggles of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
The X-Men movies showcased Professor X as a caring figure to all of his students. In Logan, that favor was returned as Wolverine was shown to deeply care for Professor X. He kept him alive and spared him the knowledge of how his uncontrolled powers killed most of his former students. By portraying such an important topic in a superhero film, viewers can witness the dynamic of these kinds of relationships and the sacrifices that come along with them.
Professor X Is Logan’s Most Tragic Character
Since his first cinematic appearance in the first X-Men movie in 2000, Charles Xavier has been portrayed as a mentor and father figure to both his students and the X-Men. His continuous fight for the coexistence of mutants and humans earned him the adoration and love of those closest to him. In order to protect young mutants from the hatred and prejudice of the rest of the world, Professor X made a school where homo superiors could learn and control their powers. Ever since then, Xavier had spent his entire life protecting mutant-kind and trying to bridge the chasm between it and humanity.
In Logan, viewers are informed that most of the X-Men and over 600 people were killed during something called the “Westchester Incident.” It is later revealed that due to his Alzheimer’s, Professor X was unable to control his telepathic powers, creating psychic seizures that killed everyone around him. After the incident, Logan took Xavier away. During their time together, he gave him medication to suppress his psychic powers and to forget about the incident. However, at some point, Xavier remembered what he did and dealt with great sadness and grief. Since he dedicated most of his life to protecting his students and innocent people, he was hurt at the realization of what he had done. What makes this even more regretful is the fact that he once used his mind in order to protect and find other mutants. But his own mind turns against him and kills his loved ones, showing how devastating his power can be.
How Alzheimer’s and Elderly Care Are Represented in Logan
Logan accurately represented how Alzheimer’s disease can affect certain individuals. In the case of Charles Xavier, he was shown to have mood swings and occasionally fights with Logan. When he first appeared in the movie, he loudly recited Shakespeare and sang “Little Miss Muffet” to himself. On the one hand, there were times when he seemed erratic and suspicious of his caregivers. On the other, there were times when he seemed lucid, being able to make sense of his surroundings. The movie accurately represents the effects of Alzheimer’s on Xavier, including mood swings, memory loss and confusion, shedding light on the struggles faced by those with the condition. Because of the decline of his cognitive abilities, Xavier was often seen in a state of confusion, which aggravated him and led him to fight with Logan.
Similarly, Wolverine was seen to be affected by both his obligation and need to take care of Xavier. Despite the help of the mutant tracker Caliban, there were times when Wolverine could not bear to be near his former mentor due to his declining health. However, he never stopped looking after him, as he saved money to buy a boat to finally offer safety for them both. Every action and decision he made was based on how it will affect his father figure. Even during their final moments together, when Xavier was stabbed by X-24, Logan looked after him by staying with him as he drew his last breath. Then, with the utmost care, Logan buried him next to a lake, stating to Laura that he thought that Xavier would have liked his final resting place.
Logan’s Portrayal of a Family
Despite the intensity and difficulty of taking care of a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s, there were important lessons that the characters learned from this experience. Laura’s arrival heralded new dangers for them both, but it also gave them an opportunity to rejuvenate old relationships and create new ones. Laura played her role in helping take care of Xavier as well, becoming a constant companion to him during their time together. Even Professor X noted how her power reflected her role as a caregiver and a hunter. In addition to Xavier and Logan having formed a father-son relationship, Laura, in a way, formed a granddaughter-grandfather relationship with Xavier. Xavier was the one who persuaded Wolverine to help Laura, and through her, he was able to show his former pupil the meaning of familial love. In a way, they became a family.
Even though Xavier did not want Laura to become like Wolverine, he also wanted Logan to take care of her. Xavier was once a teacher, and he understood the value of loving and being loved by a child. Logan showcased the importance of family and love in the face of Alzheimer’s, as Xavier’s declining health prompted him to teach Wolverine about the value of life and create a family with Laura. At some point, he said to Wolverine, “You know, Logan… this is what life looks like. A home, people who love each other. Safe place. You should take a moment and feel it.” Even though Xavier was suffering from Alzheimer’s and under the care of Wolverine, he still tried to teach him about the value of family, something that transcends the obligations of duty.
The theme of taking care of the older generation has been a popular theme in movies, with some notable examples being Amour, Still Alice and The Father. The depiction of Alzheimer’s and things like it in movies can make audiences aware of the issues that surround elderly care in real life. But, by portraying such an important topic in a superhero film, it opened up the conversation to a wider audience. The presentation of the mental and physical decline of Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier came as a shock to many, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an important topic to cover.
Logan also shows how such situations can give clarity in life. Despite the fact that Xavier had Alzheimer’s, he still mustered traces of his past self to save Laura. He also guided Wolverine and made him realize the importance of family and of loving and being loved. Taking care of the elderly can be difficult, mainly due to various emotional reasons. For Logan to watch a man that he looked up to become a shadow of his former self can be sorrowful. However, it also shows that, even though there are difficulties, Logan would have done anything for Xavier, even in his old age, because of his love for him. The movie highlighted the relationship between father and son, elder and caregiver and grandparent and grandchild. When Laura appeared, she became, in many ways, the new caregiver of the family. However, instead of providing physical care, she provided emotional care by reminding Xavier of what life can be. Likewise, Logan reminds those who are affected by Alzheimer’s that there is something more to life than surviving — there is living.