The third installment of the Wolverine standalone franchise, Logan, premiered this weekend, and it blew away expectations.
Before the film’s premiere, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Logan stood to earn $65 million or more in North America and up to $100 million overseas. But the Wolverine finale blew away those projections, earning $85.3 million domestically and $237.8 million globally, according to THR. The film is a hit with critics, too, earning a 93 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Logan premiered in 4,071 theaters in North America, the widest debut for an R-rated feature. And despite the conventional expectation that superhero films are for kids and adults alike, this is not the case for Logan. It is brutally violent. In fact, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema released a warning that parents should absolutely not bring their kids to see the film.
In spite of — or perhaps because of — director James Mangold’s decision to make a superhero film that’s unlike other superhero films, fans love it. (Light spoilers ahead.)
Logan is set in 2029, a bleak time when most mutants have gone the way of the buffalo. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) come across a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen). It’s a movie that’s more Western than Superhero, smolderingly emotional and punctuated by explosions of violence.
In addition to the film’s unique atmosphere and aesthetic, fans’ positive responses are due in no small part to the filmmakers’ decision to draw on deep comic book universe knowledge without pandering or getting too fan-service-y. For instance, fans have speculated that Logan’s license plate number, “WER 112,” could refer to Uncanny X-Men #112, in which Magneto neutralizes the X-Men’s mutant powers. This mirrors the significantly weakened Logan we see in the new film.
And speaking of the comic books, in a rare meta moment for the franchise, the X-Men comic books make an actual appearance onscreen. Laura has a collection of the stories, which Logan dismisses as tall tales. And though the issues depicted don’t exist in our world, their stories foreshadow a major plot point of a mutant Eden of sorts, and their numbers refer to actual comic book issues whose events resemble those that unfold onscreen.
Below the film’s surface, fans may notice some social commentary in Logan. Patrick Stewart has publicly commented that the story’s focus on helping children cross the U.S.-Canada border is no coincidence. “There is one dominant objective for all the good characters in the movie,” Stewart tells THR. “They want to reach a border, to cross it and to be safe on the other side. We are living in a world where thousands of people are attempting to do just that. And there are a lot of people who are bent on not just stopping them, but destroying them.”
The film is now playing in theaters worldwide. Check your local listings for show times.