What to watch before you go see Logan

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Logan has – rightly so – been causing quite a stir. Many are calling it the best comic book movie ever made and a few more are saying it’s worthy of Oscar contention. I do agree that it’s a fantastic film and definitely hope it makes its way onto The Academy’s radar. Now I’ve had a few people come to me eager to watch it but unsure if they know enough about Wolverine to fully appreciate the film. I’ve also received questions about where Logan fits into the X-Men canon and which of the X-Men films/solo Wolverine films need to be watched to fully enjoy Logan. So I thought I’d create a post to answer these questions and also come up with a unique way to enjoy the seventeen years of film that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has given us.

Below follows the sequence in which Wolverine should be best enjoyed and includes both his solo films and his adventures with the X-Men. In reality, if you’ve seen the original X-Men trilogy – which comprises X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last stand – and 2013’s The Wolverine; you should be fine. If, however, you want a proper Wolverine marathon, keep reading.

You’ll need access to the following movies

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • The Wolverine
  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

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We start with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, although this was the fourth film to feature Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, this is the beginning of Wolverine’s journey. Here we discover his true origins and how he came to have his skeleton infused with adamantium. Now I don’t want you to watch the whole movie: begin watching the movie from the start but pause around the 05:59 part. The first five minutes of this movie show a young Wolverine going by his original name (James Howlett) and his brother, Victor, as they participate in every major war the United States has been involved in. At the 05:59 part we see Wolverine and his brother fighting in the battle of Normandy.

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You should now switch movies and start watching The Wolverine. Again I want you to watch the first five minutes which show Wolverine being kept prisoner in a POW camp in Nagasaki, Japan just seconds before the nuclear strike on the city. Pause at the 05:05 minute mark and then return to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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Watch X Men Origins from where we left off at the 05:59 part which shows Wolverine and Victor fighting in Vietnam. Keep watching until the 17:02 mark.

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I want you to now switch over and watch X-Men: First Class. Not the whole movie, fast-forward to the 46:05 mark and enjoy Wolverine’s profanity-filled cameo which also marks his first interaction with Professor X and Magneto. This should be over by the 46:28 mark from there pause and return to X-Men Origins.

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Watch X-Men Origins up until the 36:07 mark. From there skip forward until the 1:33:20 mark. You’re going to miss a large section of Wolverine’s origin story but that’s the point. You’re now experiencing Wolverine’s cinematic journey as he does. You don’t know why he has an adamantium skeleton or how he ends up on the island at the end of the film. You know have the same case of amnesia that he does.

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Watch X-Men Origins until the end (post-credits scene included) and then pop in the first X-Men movie and watch that. Watch the entire film from start to finish. Then pop in X2: X-Men United and watch that until the 01:32:28 mark. At this part of the film Wolverine begins having flashbacks of the process that infused his skeleton with adamantium.

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Now return to X-Men Origins and watch the section you previously skipped i.e. from the 36:07 mark until the 1:33:20 mark.Think of this section as a flashback. You now know the backstory behind Wolverine’s past and how he came to have his fantastic steel claws.

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Watch the rest of X2 and then move to X-Men: The Last Stand. You can watch the whole film from start to finish without any need to skip parts or pop in other films.

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You should now pop over and watch The Wolverine. You’ve already seen the first five minutes so you can skip ahead or you can choose to watch them again. Watch this whole film without any skips.

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Now pop in Days of Future Past and watch that whole film from start to finish.

At this point you should have noticed some irregularities, namely that in X-Men Origins Sabertooth is shown to be Wolverine’s brother but in the X-Men trilogy he’s just some random henchmen Magneto found. Or that the way in which certain characters meet isn’t consistent. This is what I’ve always like about superhero stories – the existence of parallel and alternate timelines. The overall story remains the same but changes – both subtle and blatant – can influence individual moments. The best way to think about it is that the events of Days of Future Past create an alternate timeline where Mystique turns out not being Magneto’s right hand and Jean Grey’s Phoenix persona is never unleased and a myriad of other changes occur. So the timeline isn’t a linear line but rather a tortuous squiggle with events happening and simultaneously having never happened.

I’ve omitted Wolverine’s cameo in X-Men Apocalypse for 2 reasons: 1. it doesn’t offer anything new to the character and his origins are clearly mapped out in X-Men Origins and 2. I hate that movie and don’t think anyone should have to endure it.

You can now watch Logan and will have a complete understanding of his history in the X-Men canon.

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9 thoughts on “What to watch before you go see Logan

  1. This is such a thoughtful guide! i saw most of X Men movies (not 2 Wolverine solo ones, just Logan) and I’m so confused about all those timelines etc. And I definitely wanna see more of Hugh in the role 🙂

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  2. Wow, an insanely thoughtful post. Pity I already went to see it heh. people think this is Academy worthy? Christ, no wonder I hate the oscars so much.

    This was easily my favourite film of this genre, but that isn’t hard because most of them are user-friendly crap where their are no stakes. Logan has balls though. I still think though that the action was pretty crap. Seeing him skewer faceless soldiers gets old. And don’t get me started on the camerawork! ;P

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      1. I need to re-watch The Dark Knight, its been way too long. Is that the first one? I’m horrible with this genre, I think I saw the first one. I still haven’t seen the Heath Ledger Joker one though, shame on me!

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      2. I re-watched Logan man after having caught up with the characters.

        Incredible. I think I’ll see it again on the big screen before its gone. Just…. so good. Doesn’t feel like a superhero movie at all, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much

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  3. Wow. I can’t imagine how long it took to figure this thing out. What a great post for those unfamiliar with the character. Having seen all of these, though I may never watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine or The Last Stand ever again. They were both terrible. Great work, friend!

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    1. Thanks. I think it’s a fun way to marathon the character’s role in the X-Men canon. I haven’t tried it myself but maybe when life allows me a whole weekend of nothing, I’ll give it a try. Truly agree about Origins and Last Stand. I think Origins could have worked really well if they just focused squarely on Logan and didn’t try to set up future X-Men films. Last stand was just…not even worth mentioning.

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