Many headlines this week have been focusing on the success of 20th Century Fox’s Logan at the box office, despite it’s R-rating. Logan made $88M domestically and grossed $159M internationally opening weekend. Logan followed in the footsteps paved by Ryan Reynolds and the crew behind Deadpool. While this should be analyzed and praised, Logan is more than just a highly successful R-rated comic book film. Logan proves that when passion, creativity, and comic book lore is respected, the results can be unbelievable.
20th Century Fox allowed Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold to make the movie they wanted to make. Jackman even took a pay cut to make this possible, after being in the role of Wolverine for 17 years. Logan is particularly gory, intense and massive in scale during scenes and yet is able to feature an intimate dinner table scene that feels more like an indie drama. Logan was Mangold’s return to the X-Men universe, this time without constraints.
Mangold’s previous The Wolverine (2013) had to adhere to a PG-13 rating and wasn’t received positively by fans or critics. With Logan, Mangold was able to make the movie he was passionate about, without having to set up a franchise or introduce characters that would have spin-off movies down the road. Not everything has to exist within a shared universe, sometimes, a story is so powerful it deserves the full spotlight.
Let’s talk about those shared universes. At times, they can be successful like Marvel has been with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It should be noted that Disney has allowed Kevin Feige to helm that vision and execute it, without much interference. Ever since Iron Man (2008) was released, Feige has had a plan. Warner Bros and DC have a completely different dynamic. The studio has become known for taking more control over films and even changing them, i.e., Suicide Squad. While watching Squad it seemed like a chopped up and Hollywood polished version of the story director David Ayer was trying to tell. Fans see that drama continue to unfold with The Batman and The Flash, constantly losing and adding directors.
Studios have every right to dedicate what they would like to see from their investment into a film, especially with these larger franchise properties but Logan and Deadpool prove that when a creative team is allowed to express their vision, without much interference, audiences will respond positively and with their hard earn dollars at the box office. Trust the team that is in place, pick individuals that are passionate about telling these comic book stories.
Logan goes beyond the label of a comic book movie. Logan is an incredible and at times heartbreaking movie. The passion from Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and James Mangold comes across in every frame.
So yes, one of the lessons that come from Logan is that R-Rated comic book movies can work on a wide scale and be profitable but more importantly, it reminds studios to trust the filmmakers and actors that are bringing these stories to life. Allow them to make the movie they want to make because odds are, it’s the movie fans want to see.