By now you’ve heard about Logan, the movie about the badass superhero Wolverine, and how good it is. Hopefully, you’ve seen the film and you know it’s not just hype. It may not be the perfect movie, but it’s very, very good and there are a lot of things that even the best superhero movies can learn from Logan – namely: try to be better.
Too many superhero movies rest on the fact that they’re going to make a ton of money and don’t try to do anything interesting. They play into the same superhero tropes that audiences eat up every time a new comic book movie comes out, and that not only does a disservice to the audience, but to the mediums of comic books and film. Until more superhero movies take themselves as seriously as Logan, people outside the nerd world are always going to see comic book movies as pieces of popcorn fluff made to stimulate adult-shaped babies.
Out of all of the Marvel superhero movies, Logan breaks the mold when it comes to what’s expected. Not only is the movie extremely violent, but the film’s visuals feel closer to an Alfonso Cuaron effort than anything directed by Joss Whedon or Zack Snyder. The main filmmaking lesson that can be learned from Logan is to be confident in your decisions, and don’t worry about whether or not your art fits in with everything else that you’ll be lumped in with anyway. Aside from that, there are plenty of other things that superhero movies can take away from Wolverine’s swan song.
How great was it that no one fell in love in Logan? There were no longing looks, and no Logan having to choose between the love of some random character or the samurai way. Romantic subplots are fine, but Logan is proof that a female character doesn't have to exist only to be an object of desire. Are you listening every Avengers movie?
If there's one message that every superhero movie can take from Logan it's that you don't have to release a film that's compiled entirely of close-up shots of your actors. If you're not the kind of person that already notices this thing, the next time you're watching a superhero movie count how many times the actors in a particular scene are actually on screen with each other.
Close-ups are great for accentuating a point or really hitting a punch line, but they remove all of the intricacies that go into building a frame and can quickly turn a movie into a sitcom. A lot of the scenes in Logan take place in wide or medium shots, which not only informs the audience of the visual space that the scene is occupying, but also gives the actors a chance to actually act together, rather than with whatever stand-in best resembles Robert Downey Jr.
Even if you disagree with every other point on this list, you have to admit that it's nice to see a movie that actually shoots on location. How amazing did those desert scenes look? And those mountains? You can do a lot of amazing things with CGI (and Logan has plenty of that), but you can't beat the natural beauty of filming in an exterior location that doesn't just look like a vaguely bland city.
There are myriad differences between every other X-Men movie and Logan, but the one that stands out is that Logan was able to do more with less characters. Not only was the story better because it didn't have to serve 20 different characters with a collection of vastly different CGI-based powers and backstories, but it also didn't waste any of its run time introducing the audience to characters that they didn't need to meet.
Logan spends most of the film focusing on three characters, which is insane for a superhero movie. It's essentially The Station Agent but starring a guy with knife-hands. This movie is proof that in order to make a compelling film about people who can shrug off bullets and paralyze people with their brains fighting each other, all you have to do is weed out the superfluous characters and focus on who is actually important to the story.