In a first for the superhero genre, Logan has bagged itself an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Directed by James Mangold, Logan was set in the near future, and followed the weary titular character (Hugh Jackman) as he cared for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world was upended when he met a young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen), who needed protecting from the dark forces that wanted to capture her.

Before it’s release there was much hype around Logan being the final time Jackman would don the claws of Wolverine after 17 years of playing the character. Then came the news that it would be an R-rated movie, and when trailers were finally released, the haunting inclusion of Johnny Cash song ‘Hurt‘ really let us know that this was going to be no ordinary X-Men movie.

Although these were all pretty big indicators that this would be a truly different Wolverine experience, it’s fair to say that there weren’t many that would have predicted how beautiful and effective Logan would be. Upon release it became clear that the fact that this was an X-Men movie was almost entirely secondary. The overriding themes were more in line with a classic western, as a battle weary gunslinger is forced to take out his pistols one last time.

Logan
The family dynamic of Logan had a twisted Little Miss Sunshine feel

The relationship of Logan, Professor X and Laura as they travelled across the country to reach the Canadian border was also brilliantly executed. It showed the pain, struggles and day-to-day laughs of a family that were just doing their best to survive. It was almost like Little Miss Sunshine, but with more adamantium.

That all being said, there’s no doubt that Logan thoroughly deserves its Oscar nomination. What’s surprising is that the Academy have actually acknowledged the movies quality in spite of it being within the superhero genre. There’s always been a certain snobbery around superhero movies at the big award shows. Although they’ve been nominated previously, it’s always been in visual effects categories, rather than for anything that would legitimise the artistic quality of the movie.

Logan’s achievement can not be understated then, and it will potentially act as well overdue catalyst for more nominations for the genre in future. There are of course many critics of the sheer volume of superhero movies released nowadays, which is understandable. However, those that dismiss the legitimacy of these movies haven’t noticed that the genre has largely been over its ‘gimmick’ for years now.  The majority are of an excellent quality and a genuine commentary on the human condition, and, like Logan, the fact that they include beings with extraordinary abilities is more often than not entirely secondary.

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