Film & TV writers Alice Menon and Tim Bustin take a look at the legacy of Logan. Could it be one of the best superhero movies ever?
The first instalment of X-Men (2000) was the first significant superhero success and the original spark in the 00’s that led to the Marvel/DC comics-dominated movie scene we have today.
Logan had a significantly lower budget than some of the newer instalments of the X-men franchise – Apocalypse raked up $178 million in production costs, and in comparison Logan was on a budget of $97 million yet grossed $300.6 million worldwide.
Its huge reception is down to the die-hard X-Men fans that have stayed with the series for the last 17 years. Logan was more about Wolverine and his legacy than anything else.
When Hugh Jackman announced that Logan would be his final film where he played Wolverine, we already knew he had to go out with a bang — fighting the good fight, protecting innocents even if he was a more reluctant hero than we’ve seen him previously.
From a technical standpoint, this is arguably one of the best superhero movies of all time. Logan is a rare movie; stack it against every Superhero flick, Western, penetrating character study film and few are nearly as thematically tight.
Every detail and creative decision in Logan drives home the struggles of growing old with a regret-riddled past and carries Logan’s heavy, violent journey as he staggers towards some form of inner peace.
Consider the structural choices: with a failing healing factor, the accumulated scars of 200 warring years are opening as old wounds on Logan’s tired body; the barren, Western locations are a constant harshness in the film, a reminder of conflict and that quiet scenes shouldn’t be confused with peace. Even in opposing the comic canon and making X-23, Laura, so young is to be reminiscent of the Rogue-Wolverine relationship of the first X-Men movie.
Logan is a brutal emotional rollercoaster
But every single moment along the way is there to sow deeper subtitles into the texture of this complexly-constructed, simple-to-follow film: from the use of iPhone footage for added realism; giving X-23 additional foot claws because that’s biologically accurate for the female of the species; a brief shot of Charles Xavier, the once great mutant, sedated under a bleak imitation of the night sky as he can’t remember his failed dreams. The list goes on.
Logan is a brutal emotional rollercoaster, up close violence un-shielded by special effects or big moments of awe-inducing power displays (shown in Days of Future Past and Apocalypse) perfectly synchronising with the psychological turmoil the characters are experiencing, makes it a ‘grown-up;’ superhero movie-one that hit just the right emotional chord and creating a realistic comic book movie DC wishes its films were.
The overall consensus of the film was positive and the film received a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which leads to the obvious conclusion that Logan is one of the highest quality movies to come out this year, even compared to the Oscar nominees.
Given how the last great, gritty comic book movie got a Best Supporting Actor win, nominations are certainly within reason, especially for Hugh Jackman at the end of a fantastic 17-year run as Wolverine. Logan will have certainly earned the team points, as potentially the best superhero movie ever made.
Logan was beautiful and epic! By far one of my favorite in the X Men chapters.
— Andrew Matarazzo (@andrewmatarazzo) March 12, 2017
Logan bucks the trend with no post-credits scene; it’s a film that transcends ‘Superhero’ and its independence would be harmed by potential sequels unravelling its character arcs. All the new instalments with the new younger cast have contained great action sequences with incredible displays of mutant power.
However, with the end of Logan and this being Hugh Jackman’s last performance, there should some closure on this side of the series that he was a part of from the beginning rather than re-hashing the Xavier plotlines to the point where all of the previous films become obsolete (Apocalypse was a flop, its main actors’ contracts have expired and we’ve frankly seen Magneto and Xavier play chess and quibble over mutant rights more than enough).
Focus should instead be shifted to new projects such as Deadpool and Legion which both make reference to the original films whilst exploring entirely un-navigated characters and storylines.
Deadpool was an entirely different comedic take on the mutant series which created a huge new untapped fan base for the X-men franchise. Our first hilarious tease of Deadpool 2 was released in February, and John Wick director David Leitch taking charge is perfect to add some high-quality action to a low-budget movie.
By the sounds of it, Fox is already planning on spinning a whole new X-Universe out of it, with potential X-Force, Gambit and New Mutants movies. And we need some new mutants – there are so many X-Men stories written in comics, the richness of which is yet to be explored in film format, or TV format.
The newly debuted TV series Legion following the character of David Haller is hopefully going to become the next hit. The show’s five episodes have already achieved an impressive 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes, showing that it is capable of rivalling the original X-Men franchise.
Fox should let the original X-Men series lie and move onto further spin-offs and promote the new and impressive but not yet widely dispersed Legion, until we find brand new characters that the X-Men fanbase can sink their teeth into.
Logan was Wolverine’s one last ride, but the X-Men Universe still has so much more to give.
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