‘Sunseeker’ Presents Another Side of ‘Logan’

By  · Published on February 9th, 2017

Short of the Day

A most unusual look at a superhero movie.

Okay, so technically today’s short isn’t really a short, it’s a one-minute trailer for James Mangold’s Logan, the “final” Wolverine movie starring Hugh Jackman. As we’ve already seen in previous trailers, Mangold has taken a decidedly non-super approach to this superhero movie, which looks every bit as stark, dark, gritty and grounded in reality as Sicario, or No Country for Old Men, or Hell or High Water. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: take away the claws and Logan looks like it plays like a dystopic western noir, no powers needed.

Certainly the film’s narrative lends itself to the above assessment, but also the way Mangold has shot it makes it feel elevated above the usual fodder of the genre. The camera lingers in places like a vulture waiting for something to die, the terrain is given character, and the action sequences seem to closer resemble something like a crime thriller – close-quartered, raw, brutal, frenetic – than the choreographed, effects-laden set pieces of the X-Men movies.

And then there came this: Sunseeker, a one-minute, black-and-white, grainy teaser featuring Logan as his alter-ego James Howlett driving an assortment of dipshits around in his limo, that feels like a young Godard directing the opening sequence of Taxi Driver. The only dialogue is a voiceover voice mail “James” is leaving for someone selling the titular boat, expressing blasé interest in purchasing it, and that’s it. The word “Logan” is never spoken or shown, and in fact given the quality of film stock, it’s kinda tough to tell that’s Hugh Jackman you’re looking at. Show this to someone who hasn’t seen the Logan trailers and I guarantee there’s no way they would connect the two, and even if they have there’s nothing to give the connection away, other than the alias.

So what then is the point, you might be wondering? Character. Character character character, which is what Wolverine in particular has always been about, both in the comics and onscreen. His powers are cool, and of course the claws are iconic, but what has made Wolverine the biggest superhero since Batman is his persona, the image he has carved for himself as a wounded warrior lured by darkness but fighting for the light, the hero whose flaws are his strengths. Logan is set in 2029, far removed from the times of the other X-movies; Sunseeker serves to fill in the mental and emotional gap in Logan’s (the man) story, and it succeeds in showing us in one minute the toll years have taken on him.

There aren’t any credits but one can only assume Mangold himself shot this (though if anyone reading this knows I’m wrong please correct me), and maybe it’s just me, but I’m more excited for Logan having now seen Sunseeker than I was after the other trailers, by which admittedly I was pretty flipping excited. We always knew Mangold and Jackman would be bringing their A-game for Wolverine’s swan song, but I don’t think any of us thought that in addition to a fitting finale Logan would also be one of the year’s best films. And granted, I haven’t see it yet, but all signs are pointing to just that, this sign in particular. Watch and share.

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