After 17-years and eight movies, Hugh Jackman said goodbye in his final appearance in the X-Men universe in 2017’s Logan. Following the success of Deadpool (in which Jackman had a brief cameo), the movie was given the R-rating treatment and no longer having the restrictions of a PG-13 rating benefitted Logan greatly. However, the movie didn’t just bump up the violence for no reason as Logan was surprisingly an emotional film about a battle-scarred Logan, who takes care of a dying Professor X at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. Unfortunately, his plan of shielding himself from the world takes a backseat when he meets a young mutant, who’s very identical to him. Now, Logan must protect the girl and the dark forces that want to capture her. Not since The Dark Knight has a superhero film really capture the emotional side of a comic book hero. Following the mentally defeated X-Men was a great call as the film explored the pain in Wolverine’s world and doesn’t rely on crazy over-the-top action or effects to drive the narrative.
The acting here is without a doubt the best that an X-Men film has produced thus far, with Jackman more than pulling his weight as Wolverine; Of course, this is no surprise for anyone who’s followed the live-action Wolverine since the first film in 2000; however, the emotional baggage he’s asked to carry here far exceeds anything he’s done in the past eight films. We feel the pain, anguish, and heartbreak that Wolverine goes through because of Jackman’s amazing performance. It also helps that Jackman feeds off the tremendous performance of Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen. In a sense, Logan feels like Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 2, both tackling the inner and outer demons that the hero must overcome throughout the film.
Currently, Logan boasts a strong 93% on rotten tomatoes and amassed an astounding $619,021,436 worldwide. Surprisingly, this gem isn’t talked about much when compared to The Dark Knight, Spiderman 2, or even Joker; however, there’s no doubt that Logan matches the quality of all three of these films. The Academy somewhat agreed as they gave Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green a best-adapted screenplay nomination at the 2018 Oscars.
Sadly, the award ended up going to James Ivory for Call Me By Your Name. With Spiderman 2, The Dark Knight, and Black Panther truly failing to break through the Oscar barrier in terms of acting and directing recognition, should that have been Logan instead of Joker? Yes. As previously stated, Logan was an incredible movie that should be on Hugh Jackman and Patrick Steward’s acting reel for years to come. Granted, the film wasn’t a political powerhouse like Joker, or 2018 nominees Get Out, Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Darkest Hour or The Shape of Water; however, that doesn’t make it any less important or good.
Reportedly, the Academy has never been too fond of superhero films. Like Martin Scorsese stating in an interview that superhero films aren’t cinema, this is likely the mindset of the men and women who choose the best movies of the respective year. To defuse this situation a bit, the Academy announced a new category, Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film, which was met with huge criticism and blowback over the members reportedly trying to pander to mainstream audiences. Many also felt that the category diminished the chances of any blockbuster film receiving a Best Picture nomination.
With Black Panther getting so much hype over becoming the first superhero movie to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, the attempt to make the masses happy with a lesser award backfired. While the reasoning behind the category has yet to be confirmed, there’s no denying that blockbuster films like Logan rarely get a shot beyond technical awards. Since Logan carried the superhero DNA, the film was likely ignored for the main areas such as Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor (or even actress for Dafne Keen). The movie also didn’t have the cultural significance that Black Panther or Joker had, which easily boosted both films on the radar of the Academy voters. All-in-all, Logan is a tremendous film and easily the best X-Men-related movie made thus far. The final Hugh Jackman/Patrick Stewart vehicle should’ve gotten more love at the Academy Awards because it wasn’t just another superhero film. Just like The Dark Knight and Spiderman 2, Logan doesn’t need a special award to be considered great.