He looks friendly enough, doesn’t he? He’s got that expression of peace, that face worn with wisdom, that accent that’s like an Australian trying to impersonate a Canadian — it’s all there! Or is it? There’s definitely something missing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You approach him skeptically, asking him one simple question:
“Where’s the Stan Lee cameo?”
Tears start to well in the eyes of the former sentinel. But don’t be mistaken, for these are not the tears of longing or sorrow. These are happy tears — tears that cry liberation. And under the bushy beard, now wet with the waters of Nirvana, there’s a smile. A smile as bright as the potential future of the artistic medium of film.
I quite enjoyed Logan, the latest Marvel studios film written and directed by James Mangold. The plot traces the mysterious Logan (formerly X-Man Wolverine) in the not-too-distant future, as he cares for an elderly Charles Xavier, the former Professor X of the X-Men school, who resides in a metal dome on the Mexican-American border. Having long since abandoned the practice of superheroing, Logan finds himself working as a limousine driver, saving money so as to buy a private boat for which he and the professor may live out the rest of their days in peace. Yet just as he and the professor are enjoying their relatively simple lifestyle in the rural desert, the cinematographer wakes up from his prolonged nap and conflict ensues.
Though the film is supposedly based off of the “Old Man Logan” comic series, it seems that, based on a thorough speed-read, there are very few similarities between the two. One such similarity is that, in both stories, Logan is pretty old. A major difference between the two is that the film “Logan” is actually pretty decent.
This film is the one rational drummer trying to pull the rest of the band out of retirement before the lead guitarist overdoses: The movie goes through great lengths to repair all of the X-Men franchise’s prior mistakes. The problem with the X-Men franchise is that it’s very much based on the personal struggle of each individual protagonist, trying to save a world that refuses to accept them.
It’s in a genre that is tailored to fit as many demographics as possible, including but not limited to kids, teens, adults, nostalgics, elders, mutants, infants, cinema staff and especially ghosts. It’s because of this that the franchise has had this expectation of failure from the beginning; torn between the potential to become a serious, heart-wrenching story and its comic appeal.
But now, with “Logan”, the clouds begin to clear. Real character and genuine, gripping stories descend from the heavens like rays of warming sunlight. Perfect dialogue and pacing grant nutrients to a bed of woefully underfed flowers that blossom a thousand radiant colors under a delicate blanket of light and innovation.
My main concern is what happens next. With a box-office weekend debut of $85.3 million, Logan will, without a doubt, have a lasting influence on future films of the genre. Now whether that influence will destroy or rejuvenate the genre of super-hero films, we’ve yet to see. So we sit patiently, basking in the sunlight with our plastic Wolverine figurine by our side, waiting for the flowers to grow.