We have always had a love-hate relationship with the X-Men movie universe.
Remember when Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie was released in 2000? It heralded the dawn of the superhero movie era & while there were numerous glaring flaws, its significance outweighed its quality.
One of the flaws (as we saw it) was the casting of Wolverine. Hugh Jackman was tall and handsome – the very anti-thesis of the comic book character but hey, this is Hollywood and Jackman – to his credit – made the character his own to much personal success.
In the last 17 years, the different X-Movies have been of inconsistent merit but with Jackman/Wolverine a constant presence throughout. Perhaps it was fitting that Jackman’s final hurrah as Wolverine would turn out to be his and character’s finest cinematic achievement.
Logan is the logical conclusion to what had begun in the 1980s with the reinvention of the superhero by writers Alan Moore and Frank Miller in Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns respectively.
Christopher Nolan was deeply inspired by the concept of ‘realistic’ superheroes in his Dark Knight trilogy and Zack Snyder has expanded on this with his Watchmen adaptation as well as his DC films of Man of Steel & Batman vs Superman : Dawn of Justice.
This is what we wrote back in 2009 in a review of the R-rated Watchmen:
“After the dark overtones of the Dark Knight, the grim and gritty atmosphere of Watchmen has certainly pointed the way for future super-hero movies”.
Previously reserved for fringe characters (like Punisher and Kick-Ass), Wolverine is the first mainstream superhero movie to be afforded a R-rating and this provides director James Mangold the opportunity to make a movie that is utterly faithful to the core of the character.
This grim and gritty very loose adaptation of the Old Man Logan comic book series has more in common with Western flicks like Shane (which appears in the movie itself), True Grit and The Unforgiven and the Samurai classic manga Lone Wolf and Cub.
It is Wolverine as the last man standing, at the end of his tether and fighting to protect the future, in this case X-23/Laura Kinney, his female clone. and while Jackman closes his own personal chapter, the young star-in-the-making, 12-year-old Dafne Keen is totally mesmerising as the young mutant and perhaps begins her own career in the X-Movie universe.
We do realise that conceptually, Logan is a standalone movie (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but it would be amazing if Fox could spin off Dafne Keen’s role as X-23 into future movies.
2017 promises much as a geek movie year and Logan has up the ante & expectations for the movies to come. Its early commercial successes ($250 million worldwide for the first weekend!) bodes well as movie studios come to grips with the fact – finally – that superhero movies are not merely for kids and that adult superhero movies is probably the way to go, to sustain this ‘genre’ into the near future and beyond.
… still there’s more …