Why Logan is the most important superhero movie of our time

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**Do not read on if you haven’t watched Logan. Massive spoilers ahead!**

There are moments in Logan that rip and tear through the audience’s ears like a rabid animal, embodying its titular character in true form. With a runtime that exceeds two hours and a story so hardboiled and mature it feels as if the characters you have been holding close for decades are literally vanishing before your eyes. The X-Men films very much planted the seed that flowered into an obsession with the super and heroic — the villainous and mutated. Wolverine and Storm were taking over the big screen at the beginning of the millennium. Two years later, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman released, and in 2008, Iron Man kicked off what seems like an endless wave of cookie-cutter, delicately synchronized Marvel Studios productions.

They brim with larger-than-life characters, snappy dialogue and ultimately come to feel stale and, for lack of a better term, boring. We’ve seen Captain America enter the scene with a dull rummage through war-torn Europe and Chris Pratt’s Starlord, coupled with an obnoxious raccoon, traverse a glammed up galaxy. Throw in a few robust Avengers extravaganzas and Christopher Nolan’s inconsistent Batman trilogy, and you’ll have a good idea of what bookends Hollywood’s over-saturated world of superhero mania.

Logan’s pain and history bleed out among fallen riflemen, next to a young mutant engineered in steeped evil and weaponization, similar to Wolverine’s tortured past.

Logan isn’t the first of its kind. We’ve seen these films take an ultra realistic tone before, notably in the aforementioned Dark Knight trilogy. However, it handles a legacy with unmatched emotional kick that stems from years of world building and dedication to the final send off of an anti-hero.

He shows his final form — a hero not so super, one akin to the faulty, inherent violent side of humankind. Logan’s pain and history bleed out among fallen riflemen, next to a young mutant engineered in steeped evil and weaponization, similar to Wolverine’s tortured past. Born to kill, and does kill, but harbours the will to change, to unite and protect other mutants —  a hero’s purpose creeps inside him. Charles Xavier’s modern state captures the decayed X-Men universe, the old guard’s destiny as it reflects our own. The glue that held the X-Men together and nailed in the idea of greatness and solidarity among mutants lies in a desert tomb, wasting away, his mind now in volatile meltdown. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is again forced to be a saviour, impaling foes in a near-future while cradling Charles’ legacy all the way to his inevitable grave.

But he keeps coming, never stops – racking up countless murders and employs a living weapon, an experiment turned maelstrom that brings Logan, and the superheroes young men like me grew up with to a death knell.

It echoes the instability and uneasiness felt by many in reality, where some are killed off or targeted for being different. The hatred that consumes and boils among us in the current political climate is accentuated in Logan’s tale of redemption tacked with desperation. Logan nails the wounded hero of nothing now, the 17-year-old journey taking the form of devastating end of era R-rated thrill ride gone Neo-Western. Also an expert chase film featuring a deranged cyberpunk-esque villain named Pierce (Boyd Holbrook, who had a stellar turn in Narcos last year), just a blonde, tattooed thug with a mechanical hand, fitting for a picture where no one is at their best. But he keeps coming, never stops – racking up countless murders and employs a living weapon, an experiment turned maelstrom that brings Logan, and the superheroes young men like me grew up with to a death knell.

Logan is by no means a perfect film, it trudges along at bits and suffers pacing issues like many recent comic book movies, but it does hold an importance like no other. A heartbreaking farewell in the grandest sense, a surreal pit stop after years of balls out, fevered cape movies that plant a headache. So, when Laura turns the cross on Wolverine’s grave to the side in the final scene, it resembles an icon that not only ends an era, but awakens an uneasiness. Will superhero movies ever be this great again, or does it all die with Logan?  

Read our review of Logan here.

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About Nicholas Olsen

Nicholas Olsen is a journalist operating out of Toronto, Ontario. He has held a passion for movies ever since his father showed him Pulp Fiction back in the late 90s. Since then he's been devouring films whenever he can, using his background in writing to appreciate the arts on a critical level.

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