The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Logan

Logan, the newest film in the X-Men franchise, goes dark as it explores dementia, human trafficking and immigration.

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Logan attempts to protect Xavier when he spots danger.

In Logan, Logan is no longer the mutant he once was. He, for example, is now an alcoholic; he has aged; he is in poor mental and physical condition; he works a regular job; and he ignores those in need of help. The only aspect left of his old life is Professor X and even Xavier has drastically changed (i.e., he has dementia).

It thus comes as no great surprise that when a strange woman (Gabriela as played by Elizabeth Rodriguez) approaches Logan, asking him for protection and transportation for her and her daughter Laura (Dafne Keen), he refuses. However, once Logan discovers that Gabriela and Laura are involved with Alkali-Transigen and the creation of and trafficking of mutants, he and Xavier wind up inextricably involved with their case and everyone’s ultimate fate henceforth becomes tenuous.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Logan passes the race test but it does not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

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After several close calls with Alkali-Transigen, Logan and Laura continue fleeing and head towards the border.

Logan is a film that is primarily composed of White men and bi/multiracial individuals, and when it comes to the dialogue (that is, the amount of speaking lines), White men dominate. Despite this, however, there are a few moments in Logan where non-White individuals speak, and out of the times that non-White individuals do speak, there is one occasion where two non-White individuals speak to only one another and do not mention anyone White (e.g., a young non-White mutant man shows Laura the border that they will be crossing and they discuss how they will be leaving soon) so the film passes the race test.

As to how Logan fares when it comes to other diversity tests like the Bechdel, very few women appear in the film; only two women/girls are ever named (e.g., Gabriela and Laura); and women never have a conversation with one another. It is suffice to thus say, that Logan does not pass the Bechdel test.

Logan also fails to pass the Russo test, and the film does not pass this diversity test because none of the characters are ever identified as being LGBTIQA.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, queer, asexual and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTQIA individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQIA individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.

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