The first teaser trailer has dropped for Logan, or as most general audience ticket buyers will call it, “that new Wolverine movie.” The tease, set to Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” confirms what the slow leak of sanctioned stills have promised, that the film will be a grim, somber and violent old-school western. It looks fine, though I wonder how audiences will react to a Wolverine movie where he basically just looks like Hugh Jackman with a beard.
Jackman and friends kicked off the official marketing campaign for the third Wolverine spin-off movie a couple of weeks ago with the unveiling of a title, a poster, and a look at the second page of the screenplay. The big shocker isn’t that the script promises an old-school R-rated action movie where fights hurt and people die (that arguably describes the PG-13 The Wolverine pretty well). The shocker was that the “Old Man Wolverine” story would be titled Logan. No X-Men: Logan. No Wolverine: Logan. Just the guy’s first name.
This slow bleed of material included a photo of a severed arm, a picture implying that this “Old Man Logan” story would be relatively free of mutants, and a “Stars without makeup!” photo of Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier (along with a few others that I’m sure I missed). The overriding theme was basically “this isn’t a typical X-Men movie.”
Now that’s partially because these Wolverine movies are somewhat their own thing. It is worth noting how this trilogy of sorts (give or take how Days of Future Past screwed up the timeline) has moved farther away from its explicit X-Men roots as it went on. And the idea of making a full-blown western adventure that just happens to star Wolverine is as good an idea as any, something that goes into the whole “differentiate by genre” thing that the comic book superhero sub-genre needs to do to survive. At this odd juncture, the stand-alone/spin-off movies in the so-called X-Men universe are arguably healthier than the team films.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a Wolverine adventure, basically a big-budget 1990′s Cannon action throwback, that also introduced what could have been a whole new class of X-Men in the aftermath of The Last Stand. By the end of the movie, you had Deadpool, Silverfox, Gambit, the Blob, and a still-alive Sabertooth for future use.