Actor Ethan Hawke criticized Logan in a recent interview, claiming that the last film starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine wasn’t such a great movie after all. James Mangold’s Logan took audiences by storm in 2017, winning over those who were both fervent fans of the superhero genre and those who were usually apathetic towards it.
Logan was a breath of fresh air to many moviegoers, who enjoyed Mangold’s efforts at making an ambitious Wolverine film that was inspired more-so by Westerns and classic American cinema than comic books. It set box office records during its run in theaters, and was the first superhero film to have a serious Oscar campaign, garnering a number of other prestigious award nominations in the process. Many industry experts thought the film had a good chance at winning in its nominated category of Best Adapted Screenplay.
Related: Why Don’t Superhero Movies Win Oscars?
But Ethan Hawke tends to disagree with the majority of favorable assessments of Logan. In an interview with The Film Stage, Hawke talked about Logan and how the Hollywood machine tried to sell the film as one of the major greats in recent film memory.
Now we have the problem that they tell us Logan is a great movie. Well, it’s a great superhero movie. It still involves people in tights with metal coming out of their hands. It’s not Bresson. It’s not Bergman. But they talk about it like it is. I went to see Logan cause everyone was like, “This is a great movie” and I was like, “Really? No, this is a fine superhero movie.” There’s a difference but big business doesn’t think there’s a difference. Big business wants you to think that this is a great film because they wanna make money off of it.
Hawke has always been a proponent of independent cinema, and tends to prefer more intimate projects, having starred in some of the film industry’s most iconic indies, including Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy and Boyhood. His recent film First Reformed and upcoming feature film Blaze, which Hawke wrote and directed, have confirmed that Hawke is one of the best creative forces in independent film right now. With his preferences towards grounded drama, some might think that he would be a big fan of Logan, a film that James Mangold said he wrote to be more “dramatic and character-driven” than other superhero movies. But Hawke’s critical comments on Logan make it clear that he’s not a very big fan of Mangold’s film, regardless of the director’s efforts to make it more of a drama than a superhero action movie.
Hawke’s biggest criticisms of Logan seem to be aimed more at the larger issues that exist within Hollywood rather than the film itself. Elsewhere in the same interview, Hawke critiqued the “phoniness” of the film industry’s awards system, and suggested that awards aren’t a good indicator of a movie’s worth, despite everybody’s obsession over them. It appears as though Hawke’s comments simply come from an actor who’s frustrated with what Logan represents for him: the huge issue of Hollywood’s system being run as a big business with profit as the foremost concern over artistic value. However, regardless of the systemic critiques he was trying to point out, there’s no doubt that Hawke’s comments are going to cause some heated debate within the superhero film fan base.
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Source: The Film Stage