Ethan Hawke Tries To Explain His Criticism Of Logan


Back in August, Ethan Hawke ruffled a few feathers when he criticized James Mangold’s critically lauded Logan, which he tied into a wider problem with the superhero movie genre in general.

The comments came in an interview with The Film Stage during a discussion that touched on Hawke’s career. During this, he explained his slight disillusionment with the “big business of film” and that the notion of a ‘great movie’ is being devalued.

 “Now we have the problem that they tell us Logan is a great movie,” said Hawke. “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.”

While it’s a little bit reductionist to criticize Logan for being a movie about “people in tights with metal coming out of their hands,” I can kind of see where he’s coming from. It’s a great superhero film – one of the best ever released in my opinion – but ‘great films’ are things like The Godfather, The Wizard of Oz and Chinatown (to name the first three that come to mind), and Logan simply isn’t in their league.

Now, in an interview with Collider, Hawke’s clarified his comments, explaining that he was trying to make a “nuanced point about money and America” by using Logan as an example of how a movie studio can attempt to influence public perception of their film by marketing it as culturally significant (Black Panther and Wonder Woman were marketed the same way).

“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 ghettoized. 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. 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.”

I think I get where he’s coming from. After all, it’s perfectly possible to be a fan of superhero movies while being skeptical of the commercial processes behind them. Interestingly, a previous generation’s genre flicks, cowboy movies, were generally considered popcorn cinema with very rare exceptions, eventually blossoming into Oscar-winning prestige pictures themselves.

What do you guys think, though, is Logan really an all-time great, or is it ‘merely’ a great superhero movie? Have your say down below.

About the author

David James

David James

London-based writer about everything and anything. Willing to crawl over rusty nails to write about Metal Gear Solid or Resident Evil.