A preference to not take too many unnecessary risks is, to some degree, understandable in a big-budget blockbuster. After all, if a movie studio spends multi-millions on a product, it will expect to see a return on the investment. Although Logan falls into the category of trepidation with a budget of $127 million, Hugh Jackman's last stand as Wolverine is anything but playing it safe.
The focus is still on one of the most popular X-Men — something that in itself will see a financial return — but this is Wolverine as he has never been seen before. Set in 2024, Logan is set within the suffocating confines of a post-apocalyptic landscape, where Wolverine's mutant powers have diminished, his skin no longer repairs like it used to and the resilient warrior is jaded after years of fighting.
The Intensity Of 'Logan' Concerned Studio Executives
This is also an #XMen movie unlike any other, a somber reflection on the aftermath of a mutant way past his peak. Stacey Snider, chairman at 20th Century Fox, admitted that arriving at the dystopian destination wasn't an easy decision, and took some persuasion to get the decision-makers at the studio on board. In comments reported by Variety, she said:
"Inside, there was real consternation about the intensity of the tone of the film. It’s more of an elegy about life and death. The paradigm for it was a Western, and my colleagues were up in arms."
After 17 years as one of the most popular superheroes in live-action, it's understandable those at #Fox would have reservations with the change in tone. It takes some level of trust in the audience to portray a character in such a different light — after all, even in his most recent appearance in a cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse, Wolverine was everything we've come to expect. The same can't be said for future-based #Logan. Snider added:
"It’s not a wise-cracking cigar-chomping mutton-sporting Wolverine, and the debate internally became, isn’t that freakin’ boring? Isn’t it exciting to imagine Wolverine as a real guy and he’s world-weary and he doesn’t want to fight anymore until a little girl needs him?"
Putting The Human In Superhuman
The result is a film with emphasis on the affective themes of life and death. Snider is right, of course; it'd be easy to produce another Wolverine film where the leading mutant is seemingly all-powerful and unbeatable, but Logan ramps up the peril and in turn adds more complexity to the man behind the chiselled facade.
- Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 2024: The Real Life Filming Locations For 'Logan'
- Chancing With Wolves: 'Logan' Director Mangold Explains If X-23 Will Take Over As Wolverine
- Hugh Jackman Says His First X-Men Performance As Wolverine Was 'Average'
Fittingly, Logan has received an R-rating (for which #HughJackman took a pay cut), and there's no doubt that the success of last year's Deadpool will've helped Fox come to that decision. Wade Wilson wasn't the first R-rated superhero — Blade, the Watchmen and others came before — but in the post-MCU bubble, Deadpool proved there was an appetite for something completely different.
Deadpool used the R-rating to be Deadpool; to make unrelenting, risqué jokes and generally do the character justice. Logan, on the other hand, needs to be free from the shackles of censorship as it attempts to achieve something almost impossible — to fully humanize one of popular culture's most robust superhumans.
Do you think the R-rated risk with Logan will pay off?