Relatable themes in ‘Logan’ resonate with students

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Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) tries to protect the young mutant Laura (Dafne Keen) in "Logan."

By Tyler Panlilio , Columnist

Superheroes have always been a symbol of continuity; something that more or less stays the same as our lives do the opposite.

Sure, there will always be new villains or plot points, but our favorite characters always win in the end, right?

“Logan,” which premiered in March, has topped “The Wolverine” as the best standalone Wolverine film ever, grossing $539.8 million worldwide. With the film being a goodbye to some of the original X-Men cast, the tone was already set to be more emotional than the rest of the films.

For a lot of current students, recent graduates and even newlyweds, we first saw the most popular X-Man debut with the rest of the team in the early 2000s. Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for over 15 years and has finally retired his role in “Logan,” marking the end of an era for the “X-Men” film series.

Simply put, we grew up with James Howlett, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne by our sides.

People our age never got to read the original comic books; instead, we saw the film adaptations. Whether it was the first iteration of the “Spider-Man” films or the “Dark Knight” trilogy, these films always found their way to my middle school cafeteria conversations.

But one thing that separates “Logan” from the rest is its closure for the face of the X-Men. Of course, the movie is extremely violent; it’s one of the few R-rated Marvel films in history. But more importantly, the film is a closing to one of our generation’s most beloved comic book superheroes. With characters like Spider-Man, however, we’ll continue to see reboot after reboot until the end of time.

With almost all “X-Men” films, it was a long journey filled with violence and explosions. From preventing an apocalyptic future filled with mutant-hunting robots to stopping the first and most powerful mutant from destroying humanity, the plots became a bit redundant at times.

“Logan” diverges from the superhero genre in that it’s not about saving the world. Instead, it focuses on more relatable, smaller-scale problems. We see Logan struggle to live a normal life, protect his depressingly small amount of loved ones and finally experience the feeling of having a family.

It’s safe to say that this movie speaks to a lot of millennials mainly because it breaks away from a notion that we grew up with regarding these films: the fictional characters we looked up to would always be there for us. Countless amounts of superhero movies follow similar formulas for their protagonists, which is to always have the good guys prevail with no real ramifications in the end.

Even if you didn’t grow up with these movies, “Logan” is still a must-see. The film itself is more of a Western than anything, and the story heavily focuses on the few characters it has. Realistic themes like depression and alcoholism are present, giving it substance in terms of connecting with its audience.

For students here on campus, the film’s somber themes may be relatable. It’s tough to see familiar superheroes consumed by alcohol or having no will to live, and it’s even tougher when those problems relate back to real life. The film accurately captures the reality of the human condition, and in a way, provides consolation in our everyday lives after the credits roll.

There comes a time when our favorite superheroes stop mourning the deaths of their loved ones only because it’s their turn to be mourned. The seemingly invincible heroes we grew up with may have super strength and an adamantium skeleton, but in the end, they’ve always hurt just as much as we did.

Tyler is a freshman in Media. 

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