The internet and superhero fanbase collectively exploded in excitement following the release of the first trailer for the #Wolverine sequel #Logan. James Mangold's second turn directing Hugh Jackman in his career-defining role will serve as the character's grand finale, and the Logan trailer suggests that finale will pack one hell of an emotional punch.
If this footage is to be taken at face value, audiences could be in for a different kind of superhero movie. Here's how Logan could change the superhero movie for the better.
Check out the trailer below.
The Other Side Of The R-Rating
Logan owes a lot to #Deadpool. Contrary to outdated fears at studios, Ryan Reynolds's dream movie proved that audiences are more than willing to give an R-rated superhero movie a shot. Deadpool showed that a mainstream superhero movie loaded with decapitations, blood, toilet humor and F-bombs can work wonders, but that's only one side of the R-Rating.
There's a prevailing misconception that the R-Rating is nothing more than immature excuse for violence and sex scenes, as seen in the Kick-Ass and Sin City movies, but the best examples of the rating beg to differ. R-Rated superhero features like Zack Snyder's Watchmen adaptation, with its look at the Cold War's human toll, and all of Netflix's Marvel based series, with their various perspectives of life in crime-ridden communities, prove that there is more to the R-Rating than just killing, swearing and humping.
Serious subject matter such as trauma (a central theme in Jessica Jones) or modern day racism (as seen in Luke Cage) are rarely seen in a mainstream blockbuster, let alone a big-named superhero movie. Logan could show how far the superhero movie can go with a combination of a dark, personal story of redemption and the visceral violence Wolverine is known for in his best comic arcs.
Despite featuring different characters with varying abilities, recent superhero movies are pretty much the same thing. If it's not an origin story, expect a superhero movie to star a buff lead character who, aided with the power of wisecracks, stops some generic bad guy from destroying the world for no reason at all. There's only so much a movie can do with the superhero genre's trappings, making most standard superhero movies somewhat repetitive and shallow.
In Logan's case, Wolverine's final fight could show the genre how to break from the formula's restraints and give audiences something new by fusing the usual superhero story with something else entirely: a Clint Eastwood-style Western.
Director James Mangold said Logan will basically be a Western that happens to feature superpowers and comic book influences, and the trailer shows he was serious about his creative choice. This isn't much of a surprise since Mangold showed his love for the genre in The Wolverine, which had strong Western influences, and his remake of the classic cowboy movie 3:10 To Yuma.
This doesn't mean that all future superhero movies should be a Western in the vein of Wolverine's finale, but Logan could show them how to shake things up by adding another genre's influences to the mix. For example, Ant-Man tried but failed to be a heist movie since it prioritized the titular character's origins and an ending fight with some forgettable villain instead of locking down on the actual heist. Logan on the other hand, looks like it will focus more on Logan's personal struggles, promising a new take on a familiar narrative style.
A True Super Man Story
Time and again, superhero movies have been dismissed as brainless escapism and in a sense, some of that criticism applies. There's nothing wrong with popcorn entertainment like Guardians Of The Galaxy, but audiences deserve to get something more than just a collection of computerized action scenes. Audiences are close to being saturated with superhero movies that showcase world ending fights, and it's time for a change.
Thankfully, Logan looks like the dramatic change the genre desperately needs.
Instead of making Wolverine fight a threat to all mutantkind, Logan will see the character making amends for his violent past by saving just one important life. Instead of witnessing grand themes represented by costumed characters duke it out or see a cosmic battle where the fates of galaxies are at stake, Logan will show how people with different abilities suffer from the ravages of age, regret and loneliness. In short, Logan will put an emphasis in the "man" in "superman."
To be clear, Logan is not the first superhero movie to focus on a superhero's human aspect, as evidenced by Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy and the bits of insight in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. The key difference is that Logan looks like it embraced its superhero origins instead of deconstructing them, in a style reminiscent of Zack Snyder's needlessly depressing Superman movies. This may result in a rare emotional superhero movie that's a very human look at the idea of superpowers, yet unashamed of its comic book roots.
After starting off with one of the worst superhero spin-off movies ever made, it's nothing short of a miracle that the Wolverine series rose back to the top. All of this is thanks to James Mangold's mature yet heartfelt vision for the character, something other superhero movies should take notes from. It's obviously too early to determine Logan's final quality, but right now there's every reason to feel optimistic for Wolverine's last ride.
With Logan serving as the swan song for the X-Men characters immortalized by Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, Wolverine's last fight will be a bittersweet farewell to some of the most iconic superheroes ever seen on the big screen. Since it's only now audiences will get to see Wolverine in his true aggressive and vulnerable form, Logan may feel a bit too late for some but as the old adage goes, it's better late than never.