LOGAN & COMIC BOOK MOVIES12 min read
First things first, This is not just a review of Logan. We will use this review to take out a thread to make you understand where a perfect Comic-book Movie stands different from a perfect movie. This might further explain why the vision of fans and the general audience is polarizing at times.
I find it really humorous that people went in to watch Logan expecting to cry for #onelasttime yet when the movie succeeded in that , people are afraid to watch it again.Let’s face it – We, fans, were expecting an old Wolverine in costume going all out to face an epic death. Maybe an orchestra will play, heavens will crack open and rose petals will fall from the sky while our beloved Wolverine bids us goodbye. Turns out Professor X and Wolverine were not in the movie at all…There were just Charles and Logan! And to clear up any sort of confusion, they were men dead long ago before they actually die in the movie. Let’s go through the three major characters quickly before moving further.
Charles Xavier – An old man at the brink of his age trying to fight his Alzheimer’s disease and constantly trying hard to figure out as to why he is in that same “confounded” “dirty” tank all the time. His only visitors are comprised of one bearded old man and another white skinned tall man whom he does not recognize properly whose primary target in life seems to put him to sleep and let him think as less as possible. But it is as it is, through the sleepless nights, in the box reminiscent of his past, the Professor’s mind dwells in territory it shouldn’t – but must.
Logan – A 197 year old mutant who is sick of this life, but still not giving up on it somehow. He is just staggering down the alley, long given up for the search of light . He is putting day and night together as a chauffeur just to get some medicines to prevent the Professor’s state from worsening, to let him not remember what he has done and to prevent his mental trauma and its resultant surges. He does not like this job one bit ….It is as simple as that, don’t any “love , hope and superhero” bullshit derail you. The movie is very confident in what’s it’s trying to deliver – no conflicting ideas. Adamantium poisoning has cost him his healing and accelerated his aging. He just drives, comes home, cleans up the shit of his old man, cleans his own shit and tries to go to sleep. So you see why I inferred that they were already dead from a time long ago.
Laura – A clone of Wolverine made through the X-23 program (the sperm of Mutants were injected into hired Mexican girls). She according to the makers is “Just an R&D gone wrong”. She knows no humanity, no love, just a shadow of a childhood wrapped in the darkness of a war she never got to fight. She reads comic books on X-Men and believes heroes existed and that she is a reminiscence of one. Maybe she felt proud of it at a moment of time but that’s a thing we better not track.
So these are the main characters of the movie , and it should not be much of a difficulty to craft a plot around these characters to develop the combustibility. But that does not take any credit away from James Mangold’s innovative grounded script. On a directorial basis , this movie captures the real sense of heroism in our world , making efficient use of the plot devices to a point where they don’t seem as such. The plot devices of this movie are very well planned : The movie Shane , Laura’s X-Men comic book and X-24. The movie has no definite villains except maybe the entire humankind in itself.
Now coming to the point , as beautiful Logan is as a motion picture , it is fundamentally flawed as a Comic Book Movie. It takes the liberty to switch the properties of Adamantium from the comic books so much so that the effort to make the poisoning a real deal that its intention seems forced and the cause seems provocative . It even plays with the fans who have been begging for over 2 decades for a costume for the character that’s true to the lore. But even with all of its flaws , the movie excels , especially with competition to likes of Batman v Superman or Man of Steel which are far more epic and true to its comic book counterparts. How you ask ? Well, Instead of knocking on the door of grandeur surrealism all the time , Logan takes the time to suck in the viewer into its darkness by panning out on its inter-character interaction and combustibility.
Human is flawed and being humane is an attribute of a superhero movie. Most consider this to be a hypocrisy of sublime order. Surprisingly , its a quality to look forward to , a basic lesson taught to us as kids… something which I feel makes superhero movies so special. The themes Logan provide may initially seem to differ from this basic lesson , but ultimately aligns to its comic book legacy it despised throughout the course , to the best of its capacity . Logan died the man Professor X always wanted him to be. Unlike this , the movie Man of Steel provides everything but exposure to either Clark or Kal. Of course , there are supersonic flight sequenses , awesome depiction of Kryptonian strength , Pa Kent saying things but where is Superman or Clark Kent in all this ? The main character is as stagnant as dry ice while everything else moves. Don’t get me wrong , apart from few issues , Man of Steel is one of my all time favorites. But at the end of the day , when you get a better overview as to what makes Superman so unique from a 3 minute monologue in an unrelated film compared to an entire Superman origin movie , its a shame. Here’s the clip :
Things like this matter the least to the general movie-goer who encounter a hard time distinguishing between the heroes of Marvel and DC , if not for the logos. All they care about is some superhero escapism and good-spirited heroes elating their mood. But it’s important that in this golden era of comic book movies (CBMs) , general movie-goer apart from enjoying a Superman movie , comes out knowing something about him apart from him being super powerful. Same goes to Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice where the guy in the cape was not recognizable as Batman. Introducing a Batman in a shared universe based on Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns is everything but visionary. Captain America : Winter Soldier is a solid example where apart from it being a solid thriller , the movie helps give the characters Steve Rogers a more detailed texture.
However , Movies like Logan are not very likable to the general audience and can kill the genre with multiple blows . As surprising as it may sound , general audience along with some critics do not prefer thought provoking concepts in Comic book movies , they expect them to be super light hearted and to provide them an way of escapism from their lives. In a way , they are not wrong , after all people outside a community is supposed to have a weaker hand on the concept. Over the years , comic books had been a dweller in territories incomprehensible to a brain not acquainted with comic books. However since Logan had the #onelasttime as a part of the marketing campaign , people rushed in for seeing Hugh take up the claws for one last time. The movie to suffer from this exact scenario was War for the Planet of the Apes which did not have such an advantage. Wonderfully performed , gracefully crafted , yet a box office flop !
Further into the general audience’s taste which decides more than 90 % of a movie’s collection , I even think Captain America : Civil War under-performed to a certain degree. Not like a profit or loss , but just like under-performance. When you have heroes like Spiderman and Black Panther join the ranks of Captain America and Iron Man and end up with a 1.15 billion , it does not take a detective to figure it didn’t earn it should have. Yes , granted it is a Captain movie but come on ! The trailers broke records and Iron Man 3 earned close to 1.3 billion $. Obviously the dark tone does not suit the taste of general audience much. Same implies to Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 which I thought was darker than the first one and unable to crack a billion (which it was supposed to judging by the projections). While Wonder Woman and Captain America : Civil War stands out as an example of perfect CBM , Logan stand out more so as a perfect movie than essentially a perfect CBM.
In the above video ( only playable in desktop for the music copyright) , we have tried to bring out more clearly the father-son relationship between Charles Xavier and Logan depicted in the movie. It is to be noted that the 17 year legacy of Professor X comes to an end in Logan but he never steals the spotlight from Logan. Logan is still a X-Men Story (you just need to have the eyes for it) but more so importantly it is about how we handle life when it’s beyond repair. Logan is a rare opportunity for film-making which dares to break the main-stream barriers of a comic book movie and that is what makes it so special. But as Kevin Fiege said : what admirable of Logan is that the way it handles all the risks it dares to take , that should be a source of inspiration. Because , as I said , fewer movie like Logan can break many hearts , thus drawing them away. This could further lead to dilution of the comic book movie era.
Thus it to be concluded that any Comic book movie on its fair share to diversification should not stray away from the basic module of Super-heroism. Superheroes primarily , irrespective of the thinking of some people , were meant to inspire people , see the best in others. Over the years, heroes who have stood out in this regard , addressed their responsibilities and their cumulative actions ; have displayed maximum remembrance. Superheroes serve as a lesson for our next generation to go out there and do some good , that’s the primary goal of a comic book movie. It should not pretend to be anything else , it need not pretend to be anything else.