Editor's note: The following movie review contains some spoilers.
Over the last decade or so, superhero films have largely dominated the film landscape.
After “The Avengers” was released in 2012, the superhero genre made a huge comeback as the film decimated the domestic and global box office with numbers rarely seen in the superhero genre. It was ultimately ranked as the fifth-highest worldwide grossing film ever.
Since “The Avengers,” it seems as though superhero films have become rather formulaic and predictable. The theme of these films seems to be: bigger and louder.
On March 3, 2017, the film “Logan,” directed by James Mangold, was released. “Logan” defied common perceptions of the genre in interesting ways.
Although it is technically a part of the X-Men movie franchise that began in 2000, "Logan" functions as its own piece rather than a mere sequel. Many critics and fans alike attribute much of the film’s current success to that fact alone. Additionally, the film has been praised by many for emphasizing the story instead of the glitz and computer-generated imagery, which are typical in superhero films. University of Richmond student Brad Fischer is among the fans of the film.
"For newcomers to the 'X-Men' franchise, such as myself, I appreciated how 'Logan' divorced itself from the typical comic-book script," Fischer said.
One critic, Sheri Linden, wrote that the film felt like "a neo-Western road trip through the heartland."
Mangold was given freedom in making the film, without much interference from 20th Century Fox, the studio that produced the film. As a result, he was able to strip the film to the basics: a compelling and engaging story with memorable characters that felt real and relatable (even if they were still superheroes).
The film takes Hugh Jackman’s character, Logan, on a journey of self-discovery and places him in harm's way at every corner. The year is 2029 and he is both aging and weakening. He is a “mutant” with metal claws and a self-healing capability that no longer works as it once did. Logan’s injuries are taking a major toll on him both physically and mentally.
The only person left in Logan’s life who he cares about is his old friend, and former professor, Charles Xavier, portrayed by Patrick Stewart.
Throughout the film, Logan and Xavier have an interesting, real and very emotional dynamic. They are always by each other’s side, clearly caring for one another. Yet, at times, they grow tired and frustrated with each other because of the burdens that come with age. Both Jackman and Stewart star in their roles and almost seem like father and son as the film progresses.
The greatest elements of “Logan” are those that showcase the characters’ mortality and humanity rather than their powers or the action scenes (though, they too, were amazing). There was a great deal of emotional weight in the film and, as remarked by UR student Supreeth Prasad, "it makes you cry more than saying goodbye."
"Logan" is truly one of those films that leaves you wanting more, and will be regarded not only as one of the greatest superhero films of all time, but as an all-around excellent film that tells a powerful story.
Contact Alex Rigsby at firstname.lastname@example.org.