Superhero movie trailers tend to follow a pretty set formula: They start with an ominous thud, they build to the threat of apocalypse and the destruction of a famous skyline, and then the obligatory giant 3-D letters soar into view. The new trailer for Logan, however, is different. The “money shot” it all builds up to is just an old man and a young girl, looking surprisingly vulnerable and holding hands. The title screen is as simple as it gets: 2-D letters, white on black.
In fact, Logan, which Hugh Jackman says will be his 10th and final film as Wolverine, looks less like a superhero movie than a sort of post-superhero movie. “Mutants. They’re gone now,” Jackman’s title character, going by his more common name rather than his superhero moniker, says early on. Patrick Stewart, too, returns as Charles Xavier, but there’s nothing to signal that he’s Professor X or really anything other than a weakening old man. Everyone seems less superhuman than human.
And though Logan wouldn’t be the first superhero movie to go for more character-based thrills over mass urban destruction—last year, both Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War zigged where most superhero movies zag—these movies are still the exceptions that prove the rule. With its rural, post-apocalyptic setting and its focus on the relationship between a grizzled, aging father and his mutant/mutating daughter, Logan looks less like a Marvel or DC film than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s own genre-subverting Maggie.
None of this guarantees that Logan will be good or even that it will be anything like its surprisingly mournful trailer. The movie comes from writer-director James Mangold, who also directed the middling The Wolverine, in addition to some more acclaimed movies such as Walk the Line and 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma. But for the first time with the Wolverine series, I’m intrigued by the notion that, when his claws finally come out, it could mean something.