With Hugh Jackman’s Logan opening in theaters this weekend, the top spot of this list was never in doubt. The questions were always whether audiences would respond well to the first major R-rated superhero movie. Was the big opening of Deadpool an abberation or a sign of things to come? If today’s numbers are any indication, the answer is, maybe a little bit of both.
There are two ways in which Logan represents a major change for superhero movies. The first, and most obvious, is the maturity of its content. Wolverine swears, Xavier swears, people get decapitated, and both Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen spend the majority of the film covered in fake blood. Perhaps the more interesting change, though, is what Logan doesn’t do. It doesn’t feel the need to wrap up two decades’ worth of canon, or leave the door open for a sequel, or culminate in a big fight sequence with recognizable faces from the X-Men universe. Put it another way: Logan is the best at what it does, but what it does isn’t very superhero movie-ish.
While much has been made of Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine, as those who have seen the film can attest, many of Logan’s most haunting moments belong to Patrick Stewart’s elderly Charles Xavier. For nearly two decades, Stewart’s character has been synonymous with both control and wisdom, making his weakened state hard to watch. We’re used to watching our superheroes fight off every enemy, but seeing them eaten away from within? That’s a powerful reflection of our own mortality.
It’s been nearly 17 years since Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie ushered in a new era of superhero movies, and in that time, we’ve seen studios crank through actors with alarming frequency. We’ve seen three Spider-Man, a handful of Batmen, three Punishers across the big and small screens, and dozens of big-budget Marvel and DC movies break records at the box office. In the midst of all this chaos has been Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the one actor-character combination that seemed immune to bad reviews and flagging box office numbers. And with Jackman set to take one final turn as Wolverine in Logan, the actor is taking a little time to stop and reflect on his impact in Hollywood.
Although it’s been years since I stopped collecting comic books, I can still remember the excitement and frustration of variant covers. Nothing triggered the collector in me quite like the multiple variants of a key issue; instead of owning just one copy of issue #500 of whatever, I found myself weighing the options of picking up multiple copies of the same thing, especially when I really enjoyed one or more of the variants. It was the perfect way for Marvel or DC to bait the hook in me, and it wasn’t long before they realized they could do the very same thing with their movie posters.
Here at ScreenCrush, we have already done two different lists of recent trailers with sad covers of popular songs.
Unlike a lot of superhero movies, Logan seems to have kept its cards pretty close to its chest. Even though we’ve known the rough outline of the film for a while now, it wasn’t until this past week that we were finally treated to a full synopsis of the film. And while the footage we’ve seen has been enticing, it’s also been pretty carefully curated to reveal as little of the big picture as possible. In other words, James Mangold and Hugh Jackman have set the hook and now are just cruelly letting us run ourselves out.
How about that last Logan trailer, huh? While the first trailer will probably be remembered as the one that got everyone excited for a mature Wolverine movie, the second trailer — even without the Johnny Cash music playing in the background — is the one that really sets the hook. What was hinted at in the first go-around now feels lived in and personal; Hugh Jackman’s Logan has never seemed more tired, and Dafne Keen’s X-23 has never seemed more dangerous.
While we’ve known for a while that Logan would probably be the last appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, we sometimes undersell how much of a landmark that truly is. Jackman was one of the first actors to make a long-term commitment to playing a superhero; furthermore, he’s one of the few actors who actually retired from the character rather than being replaced or rebooted by the studio. What Jackman has gone through in the past few years should help set the stage for the current generation of Marvel actors, people like Robert Downey, Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson who will likely step down from a role rather than have it taken from them.
If you’ve spent the past few weeks caught up in holiday and family time, you might have missed the announcement that Cliff Martinez would no longer be writing the music for Logan, ostensibly the final movie in Hugh Jackman’s decades-long run as Wolverine. As pointed out by sites like Birth.Movies.Death, at some point in the last few months, director James Mangold had quietly brought back Marco Beltrami, the composer from 2013’s The Wolverine, to bang out a soundtrack for the March release. And now, thanks to the director’s Twitter account, we’ve got our first look (listen?) at the music for Logan