I must admit to feeling a bit of Superhero exhaustion of late, I didn’t bother seeing Apocalypse and only went to see Logan because I accidentally agreed and a friend had already bought the ticket. I knew almost next to nothing about this movie going in, I hadn’t seen the trailers nor read the comic based off of it. I knew two facts:
The connection to the previous movies seems tenuous, in comics we would probably call this an else world comic, a what if, rather than the main comic canon. Movies haven’t really dipped into the else world idea, so it’ll remain to be seen if FOX continues on from here or tries to introduce that concept. They have already given movie fans the first taste of the comic book retcon through the time manipulation that lead to X-men 3 being removed. So it is possible, although intertextuality that drives the audience to have to see every instance is a powerful motivator in the current movie climate.
Tonal whiplash aside, how does Logan hold up on its own? A violent road trip of old characters worn down by their pasts, trying to salvage the hope for the future.
This movie succeeds where so many attempts at dark and gritty superhero movies have failed. It keeps a deep emotional core, the violence isn’t used for the sake of it, it’s used to make the small moments of beauty and hope all the more valuable. It’s bleak reality and character views are not designed to present some hopelessly nihilistic view of life. Life matters, even if it can be cruelly taken away, love matters, even when it’s not polished and perfect. It is made real by its flaws.
The focus on this movie is kept tight on our three leads, Logan, Charles and Laura; Dafne Keen as Laura was an utterly stand out performance who held her own against two greats. Their interactions with the outside world are constantly met with death, which unfortunately does mean the only black characters are killed. In this individual instance it wouldn’t be notable because death isn’t limited to them, but as part of a larger narrative within entertain and society that portrays black lives as expendable it is an issue.
The weakest element of the film are the villains, I can’t see any of them really making it into anyone’s memory, and while it doesn’t fail the movie because other elements are so strong but it is a weakness. The other issue is the tonal dissonance, while it might not be an issue for other viewers, to me it felt like going from Batman and Robin to The Dark Knight in the same continuity.
However X-Men is an interesting film franchise, they’ve been around the longest, X-Men came out in 2000, 8 years before the first Iron Man movie. It predates not the most recent Spiderman, or the Spiderman before him, but the Spiderman before that. And it is still going within the same continuity, the same actors. While other franchises have been re-booted and changed, evolved and grown, X-men has stayed very close to its original tone set in the 2000 movie.
Hugh Jackman’s wolverine is currently the longest running (live action) superhero, if this era of superhero films was the wind down now this would be its perfect send off. A hero, who started as the costume wearing crowd favourite, whose survived terrible prequels, alternate time lines and managed to retain his humanity during the grittiest portrayals and was willing to sacrifice himself for the next generation.
The only thing I ask is when the wave of superhero adaptations floods again, we not wait to see the diversity that has been long promised. It’s a shame we’ve had to wait so long for someone like Dafne Keen, and all those who might get denied a chance to shine if the Marvel Cinematic Universe crashes before their time.
What I’m saying is, Miss Marvel with Kamala Khan… make it happen already.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.