Oct 23, 2016

Trailing Off: "Logan" (2017)

Welcome to the weekly column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. Coming every Sunday (it's called Trailing Off for a reason), I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion

Directed By: James Mangold
Written By: David James Kelly & Michael Green & James Mangold (Screenplay), James Mangold (Story By), Roy Thomas & Len Wein & John Romita Sr. (Character)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Boyd Holbrook, Doris Morgado

- Preamble -

Here we are again. It's time for another superhero movie. No, Dr. Strange doesn't come out for a little more time. I'm talking about Logan: the X-Men sequel that promises to be the grand finale of Hugh Jackman's time as iconic hero Wolverine. Another catch is that this will be the Hard-R version that will feature all the blood and cursing that one could hope for the lone wolf of the franchise. Speaking as he's been playing the character for almost 20 years, a swan song does seem fitting, especially since it doesn't seem likely that whoever will replace him will ever be able to live up to the reputation.
With that said, the X-Men movies have been largely hit and miss for me. They exist in this weird universe where every character is a tad too convenient for their own sakes, and their personal journeys aren't all that interesting. Speaking as the franchise has run through so many different outlines in the past, it's hard to even suggest continuity as being part of their strong suit. I'm even fine in saying that they're at times more cookie cutter and conventional than The Avengers counterpart that is operated by an opposing studio.
In general, I get why Wolverine is an interesting character. He has limited powers and tends to have a rough attitude about everything. It is the reason that he's had so many spin-off movies and even has been the central character in most of the early X-Men films. However, I do think that Jackman is too talented to keep playing this role. I want to see him branch out and try different things. If this is a swan song, I am totally fine with seeing him played off reverently. However, I would love to believe that great things lie ahead for him now that he doesn't have to worry about staying in shape while keeping silly sideburns.

- Dissection -

I do think that it's clever that they used Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt." If nothing else, there's a nice subtext going on about the declining icon. Cash recorded the song with his death being not too far off. It was a self-reflective Nine Inch Nails cover that brought out the humanity in a performer known for performing in prisons and being an out and out outlaw. He was a music rebel, and it fits that the song is used for Logan: a film about the end of the line for another hero likely to die, or at least retire. It's a poignant choice, if done intentionally. 
Then there's the rest of the footage. Wolverine has grown haggard and miserable. He is someone who used to have the physique of youth, and now he's worn down and forced to contemplate difficult issues. The rest of the footage looks conventional, but it almost seems like the story to follow isn't going to be a superhero story. It's a drama that focuses more on legacy and the difficulties of letting the past go. If this is indeed the intention, especially with little proof otherwise, then Logan may end up being the best X-Men movie period.
It is hard to say, though it works very well as a teaser that promises to bring the character's arc to an end. He has had a phenomenal run and continues to resonate with cinema goers. The question now is if things will end on a high note, or if this will just be one more outing. I feel like Wolverine is too much of an iconic character to let it just be a quick brushoff. Either way, this is very well made and it definitely amps up my general interest for a franchise that hasn't exactly had that.

- One Sentence Sell -

The X-Men franchise say goodbye to Hugh Jackman by giving Wolverine one last mission.

-Trove or Trash-

Against my best wishes, this actually looks good. I hope it is, because I generally don't like the X-Men movies despite being a fan of Hugh Jackman in other places.

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