Reasons Logan should replace The Dark Knight as the gold standard for superhero films
- Hugh Jackman‘s final performance as Wolverine: Yes, Bale is really good so long as you get past the “WHERE ARE THEY?!“ voice, but Hugh is on a whole other level. This is his swan song and he gave it everything he has. It’s the best lead performance in any superhero film, as far as I’m concerned.
- The feels: Remember how Rachel died in that film and the reaction from most of us was ‘oh shit, that happened‘. It was more shock than sadness, lbh. Meanwhile, this film packs so much emotional punch. And it’s the full range emotions as well. There are some surprisingly funny moments. But when it gets sad, it does not hold back.
- It’s proud to be a comic book movie: While Nolan’s Batman films, TDK included, repress any hint of anything that would compromise his realistic version of Batman, Logan embraces the fact that it’s a comic book movie. A very different kind of comic book movie, but still a comic book movie. Complete with a kid killing grown men with claws, clones, and cyborg hands.
- Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney aka X-23: Seriously, there is not a single film in existence that could not be improved by Laura Kinney.
- Diversity: OK, the diversity in Logan is not, say, Moonlight levels. But of the three central characters, one is disabled physically and mentally, the other is Mexican. Plus, the story explores the themes of prejudice and racism that have always been a part of X-Men with mutants being referred to as ‘objects‘ and made to be ‘controlled.‘ The Dark Knight has one person of color. And he gets the least attention of the side characters. Everyone forgets that because Morgan Freeman can make five minutes feel as satisfying as a 30 minute scene.
- A tightly put together story: I honestly can’t think of a single plot hole in Logan. Sure, the timeline was up in the air, but I was never questioning the characters decision making, or how the logistics of this post apocalyptic future worked. Meanwhile, the Dark Knight has a few plot holes. Like how did Bruce Wayne swim onto a plane from a boat filled with models without any of them saying anything to the news? How is Lau’s arrest even remotely legal? The Joker’s plan hinges a lot on coincidence and people acting and reacting exactly the way Joker wants. And the ending. Why did Batman have to take the blame? Blame the Joker. It is technically his fault, since he pushed Harvey over the edge. And if he says ‘Harvey did it‘, who the hell’s going to believe him?
There’s other little stuff as well. The action scenes are better overall, it never feels too long, it looks better. But most importantly, Logan was a step forward. The Dark Knight was a step forward as well, don’t get me wrong. But it came out 9 years ago. The superhero genre has made leaps and bounds in the time since then. And I want to see a sign that we’re moving forward with the genre, and not clinging to 2008.
It doesn’t even have to be Logan that gets to be the new benchmark of the genre. It could be another film that made a similar or larger impact on the genre (The Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman) or a film that’s just as good as The Dark Knight if not better. (Winter Soldier, Civil War, First Class, Days of Future Past, Spider-Man 2). Hell, I’ll take Deadpool or a DCEU movie. Just some indication that we’ve moved on from a film that’s actual impact has overshadowed the film itself.
I am by no means saying that Dark Knight is anything below great. But it’s been 9 years. We’ve had several other great superhero films since then. Some even better than The Dark Knight. Can we please just move on? Nolan has. The actors have. The genre has. DC… is getting there. Why can’t we?
We finally have a movie that seems destined to be the new gold standard for the rest of the genre. Let’s take this as an opportunity to move on and let the genre step out of the shadows of the Dark Knight.