Released earlier this month, Logan, starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, is not your typical superhero – or even your typical X-Men movie. Since the first comic was released in 1963, X-Men has been a part of pop culture, serving as a moral force and connecting to people who felt like outsiders.
However, morality is questioned in Logan. Set in 2029 in a world where mutants are all but nearly gone, Hugh Jackman embodies the gruff Wolverine one last time as his character must live outside of his self-imposed exile and face his own past in a “last gunslinger of the west” mission.
For Dave Luhrssen, arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express weekly and our regular film contributor, Logan is a film that truly "transcends the superhero genre." The film, he says, has a greater level of realism compared to most superhero films, with elements of film noir, westerns and a dystopian future.
"I think the movie just does a great job of doing many things while incorporating the X-Men mythology into its storyline," says Luhrssen.
Outside of the small cast, cinematic style and lack of costumes, what sets apart this movie from most superhero films is its rating from the Motion Picture Association. Logan is the first of the X-Men films to be rated R, but Luhrssen notes that most film audiences have changed, making the rating less impactful on its success.
The film's warm reception from both X-Men fans and newcomers to the genre alike is a good indication that experimentation and a more serious, character-centered approach to superhero stories can work.
"What I hope it does is to inspire corporate decision makers in the movie industry as well as other filmmakers to rethink the ways in which these kinds of movies can be presented," says Luhrssen.
He also notes that this film truly highlights the talented cast of Jackman, Stewart and Dafne Keen. "I really love the almost surrogate father-son relation between the two men in this movie. There's almost something kind of Shakespearean, if you will," says Luhrssen. "And Hugh Jackman I think is truly revealing his depth of talent as well in this film."
Whether or not you have seen all of the installments in the X-Men franchise, Luhrssen says that Logan is a film that has a mass appeal. "I think there's enough there that it will please superhero movie fans, but I don't think that you need to particularly like superhero movies to appreciate Logan."