Superhero origin stories, sequels, crossovers, reboots, spin-offs and stand-offs… it’s official, the world has been whipped into a superhero frenzy. Or, maybe it’s just the Man of Steel trying to get the earth to rotate in the opposite direction to turn back time like he did in Superman (1978)?
The earliest stories in the superhero genre were inspired by The Great Depression as city crusaders fought everyday social injustices. In time, they evolved to fight evil scientists, tyrants and overlords but have by-and-large been a product of their political climate. The Cold War saw a revival of the genre and more recently, economic recessions and post 9/11 terrorism has made escapist cinema even more appealing, ushering in the Marvel boom.
Now with an ever-burgeoning list of heroes and villains getting their long-awaited cinematic treatment, fandoms around the world are reeling in the superhero renaissance. One such success story is Wolverine, an X-Men character who has appeared in every one of their media adaptations. A prolific figurehead, he’s been part of the team and branched off in his own stand-alone films, essentially making the iconic character a Mr. Hyde for Hugh Jackman. Having played Wolverine in nine X-Men movies, it’s quite amazing he’s managed to avoid being typecast, a fear for many actors playing popular long-standing roles.
This is what makes Logan so refreshing! James Mangold has opted for a gritty, realistic and grisly reinvention of the character in favour of his sleeker, CGI-heavy vision for The Wolverine. Turning the clock forward, we witness an older shell of the superhero as we know him, who wants to thwart the legacy of Wolverine. It’s a more introspective journey, sidestepping the obligatory destruction of a metropolis to return to the social injustice origins of the genre, offering up a more intimate, thought-provoking albeit violent road trip action-adventure.
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