When it comes to great actors, few are able to match the talent and track record of Ethan Hawke. Whether its the Before Trilogy, Boyhood, or his masterful work in this year’s First Reformed, Hawke has consistently been a commanding and versatile actor, as well as a bit of a folk hero for indie film fans. It should come as no surprise that the indie star has an issue or two with the domination of superhero films in the marketplace – most recently, Logan.
In an interview with The Film Stage, Hawke spoke about his disappointment with Logan and the rest of the superhero genre.
“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’s comments are sure to draw a lot of ire from superhero fans, but before you grab your tomatoes to throw, he does make an interesting point. Superhero films have dominated the marketplace to a massive degree, often overshadowing many superior movies with less marketable qualities.
My issue however comes with the example he used to illustrate his point. Logan is easily one of the most accomplished and subversive super hero movies ever made, registering a lot of authentic and deeply felt emotion without flashing big special effects on screen. Hawke’s criticism of the movie doesn’t have any real substance, and I could easily see anyone labeling Hawke as condescending for his criticisms.
While I think its fair to be upset by in the imbalance of indie success compared to mainstream films, I wish he made a stronger case for why Logan illustrates this point in his opinion.