When looking at the grand scheme of things, the superhero genre is a relatively new one in global cinema. While many genre films like the gangster flick, the war film and the western have been around since before the invention of “talking pictures” in the 1920s, the first big-budget superhero film did not emerge until the release of “Superman” in 1978. This is when the genre’s evolution began.
Although the superhero film has been commonly associated with Hollywood’s summer blockbuster season, the genre has been maturing into more of an art form in recent years, instead of pure spectacle for the masses. This maturation is evident from last week’s announcement of the 2018 Oscar nominations, where “Logan” became the first superhero film to be nominated for best adapted screenplay.
This accomplishment should not be understated for its importance on the superhero genre as a whole. With the exception of Heath Ledger’s mesmerizing portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight” in 2008 (which resulted in Ledger posthumously winning for best supporting actor), superhero films are not normally under the Academy’s consideration for any of the major categories, besides technical awards like best cinematography, visual effects, sound editing and others. This just begins to show how unique “Logan” is compared to other trope-filled superhero flicks.
Shortly after its theatrical release in March of 2017, I wrote an article that went behind-the-scenes into “Logan” through the viewpoint of the film’s main camera operator, David Luckenbach, who has is heavily acquainted with the superhero genre. In addition to collaborating on “Logan,” Luckenbach has worked on major tentpole superhero movies such as “Suicide Squad,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Hancock,” as well as the upcoming “X-Men: Dark Phoenix.” Due to his extensive background in the film industry, Luckenbach understands the ramifications of “Logan” being recognized by the Academy for its storytelling.
“It’s a big deal,” Luckenbach said. “It makes a statement on how much (The Academy) noticed the writing and plot of the movie.”