Ethan Hawke has clarified the previous comments he made about Logan and has gone on to praise superhero movies. Last month, the actor criticized James Mangold’s acclaimed superhero film, which many found to be among the best films of 2017, and said it was not the great production that many claimed it was. His comments caused a huge debate over social media, with many lashing out against his opinions.
Even though a year has passed since it was first released, Logan is a film that is still regularly discussed by those who are both in and outside of superhero fandom circles. It is celebrated for its ambitious and compelling storyline that is inspired more by classic Westerns than superhero films. Mangold’s take on Wolverine was even the first film of the comic book genre to gain an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Yet despite all of the praise surrounding the movie, Hawke disagreed with the popular opinion in August when he claimed that it was a good superhero movie but not great, which is what the studios want people to think.
Hawke discussed the controversy in a recent interview with Collider. When asked how he felt about the fierce social media debate his comments sparked, Hawke said he was encouraged by people’s comments and explained:
“But you know, one of the things that’s cool about that is that’s because for a long time – I thought about this for a little bit – for a long time, comic books and people who cared about comic books were ghetto-ized. And it was made to feel small. And now they run the table. And there’s been this giant switch in my lifetime, I mean, like I am a comic book geek, I’ve seen all those [movies]. The idea that I’m the one criticizing them is a joke, because I - there’s very few things I enjoy more - this is something I teach my son - that something about being a geek is being real. That’s what it means: I’m gonna be real.”
Later on in the interview, Hawke clarified that he “was talking about a much more nuanced point about money and America” with his initial comments, and he wasn’t aiming to tear down Mangold’s film with what he said. Hawke’s critique of the Hollywood system and its constant production of superhero films because of the profit they bring in caused some in the film community to argue that Hawke was actually right. The heated debate between the two “sides” – those who supported Logan and claimed it was one of the genre's strongest films versus those who thought Hawke had something compelling to say – sparked a conversation over the state of the film industry.
While some would argue Hawke had no place to make those comments, others would say the conversation it started was an important one. Hawke is a filmmaker and actor who has traditionally valued being grounded and authentic, both as a person and in his work, and it was this philosophy that led him to criticize Logan in the first place, as he thought the film and comic book films in general were too commercialized to be great movies. With his new comments, Hawke appears as though he’s reconsidered the whole superhero film genre and realizes that there are important links between being “real” and the genre he previously criticized, adding more complexities to the ongoing debate. No matter what people's opinions may be on his initial comments, Hawke, at the very least, inspired an impassioned debate within the comic book movie fanbase, as well as the film community at large, over what constitutes a good film versus a bad one.
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