It truly is the end of an era. Even though there has been a steady flux of superhero movies since 1989, the true boom of the genre kicked off with 2000s X-Men. With that came Hugh Jackman’s instantly iconic performance as Wolverine/Logan, a role so synonymous with the franchise that he gets shoehorned in every chance they get.
Its been known for a while that this was to be the man’s final portrayal of the character, and as soon as I saw the opening shot, I knew that to be the case.
That this was going to be the comic book film version of Unforgiven.
I’ll cut to the chance in saying that what these two movies have in common the most is about eras coming to an end, and old heroes have no place in the world anymore.
Both films deal primarily with an ageing protagonist at the end of his “career” both have one close friend, and both are thrown into the last job by a young hothead. Hell, I was astonished that Logan even dealt with the stories of his exploits becoming books, and the stuff of legends.
While Logan deals with a specific character as its focal point, Unforgiven had its own original character but with the weight and history of its actor, Clint Eastwood. He made a name for himself playing as The Man with No Name; someone who had no past, no future, no heart. Even though the character has a name, William Munny, deep down fans of the western saw this as what became of the Man with No Name.
Unforgiven marked the end of an era where a most popular genre (the western) had long past it’s popularity, and the film acts like a eulogy. Where the lines between good and evil don’t exist anymore (or possibly never did), where morality became an old wives tale.
While superhero films are not going to come to an end anytime soon, but they sure are on a decline in terms of quality. A lot of troupes are being rehashed in new window dressing, and people have taken notice.
Logan is a film that is predicting its own genre’s future; a barron wasteland of regret amd missed opportunities. Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of The Wolverine is at last where it should always have been: a monster filled with rage, and mourning.
Thinking back on the film, I recognize that this movie makes the end of an era; the current crop of superhero movies would never have been possible without X-Men.
As much as I lament that this is the end, but I do truly hope that this is the beginning of something new. Logan is without a doubt, a drama. Yeah there’s action in the flick, but the movie took its time to reflect, to build, to give its characters personality. It makes sense to have Wolverine be the gruffed hero at the end of his journey. He was the one with the most mysterious past, the one who was always more of an icon than a full blooded character.
The Western ascetic is no accident. The parallels between Logan and Unforgiven are undeniable, and both serve as the final word on their icons: One was the Man with No Name. The other was Logan.