Now for the true test. Everybody is saying that Logan is one of the greatest superhero films they’ve ever seen. They say it’s the best X-Men film, the best Marvel film, but can it hold its ground against THE comic book film…not only the greatest superhero film ever made, but one of the defining cinematic achievements in cinema history… The Dark Knight? Let’s see…
In a fight between Batman and Wolverine, it’s easy to see that Wolverine could absolutely tear Batman to shreds. Here, I’m talking about Bruce Wayne against Logan; who is the stronger and better character. For all intents and purposes, they have opposite character arcs in these movies. In The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has to shed his identity and become the Batman, giving away his life as a human to become the hero. In Logan, Logan has to shed his “hero” identity and become his true self, adopting the humanity back into his life. Unfortunately, by becoming more human in this film, that also yields mortality which catches up to him in the end. By the end of each film, both characters die, in a way. Logan literally dies to save his heir while Bruce sacrifices his life and his alter ego in order to protect the reputation of his city and it’s people. Both, extremely poetic, but I think that Logan takes the cake on this one. This fight is tough so far but Logan inches ahead on this one. That being said, Logan has an advantage for being the last film in the franchise and having nothing to lose. LOGAN WINS THIS ROUND.
Neither of these characters would be able to undergo their arc in these films without a little motivation, or a catalyst to get them off their feet. In The Dark Knight, Batman fights crime and everybody knows that. The first scene of him is him fighting crime in a parking garage, he doesn’t really need any motivation. The Joker, which I’ll get to, is terrorizing the city but Batman would fight him as if he was anybody else. In Logan, Logan is retired and doesn’t give a flying frack about anybody, especially himself. He’s taking care of Professor Xavier because he’s literally the only person who can, and Caliban is there with him for who knows what reason, but it’s easy to see that they aren’t the best of friends. Caliban is sort of like Alfred to Logan. What gets Logan off his ass and into the ring is Laura (or X-23) but that’s not an immediate or even effective push at first. Charles’ persistence and Laura’s relation to Logan are what works for him, and Logan finally feels as though he has a purpose besides just being a weapon of destruction. He feels as though his hands can be used to love and protect rather than just kill and slaughter. Bruce Wayne really doesn’t have or need motivation in this film, he’s already fighting. Again, comparing Logan to The Dark Knight Rises might be a more even match, because Logan takes the crown here too. LOGAN WINS THIS ROUND.
The Joker and his goons vs. Donald Pierce and his squad. The Joker is a psychological villain of terror and Donald Pierce is sort of the same. Our heroes could rip these two villains in half, but it’s what they have under their sleeves that cause trouble for our heroes. The Joker kidnapped Rachel and Harvey Dent, and then killed them both, in a way. Rachel was Bruce’s love since a young age and The Joker took her away. He also killed Harvey Dent, the shining beacon of hope for Gotham City and created Two-Face, a tarnished monster seeking nothing but revenge and fear out of the people he comes across. Because of this, Batman had to take the fall and become the hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, The Joker killed Rachel, Harvey, and Batman, and created Two-Face; even though The Joker didn’t kill Harvey or Batman literally, he killed their reputations and forced them to fall and Batman to lie to his city and be the villain. Wow, how do you top that?
Well, Doland Pierce did a lot of damage, too, let’s not forget. Because of his presence, Caliban, Professor X and Logan are all dead, and the New Mutants at the end were all raised in a lab as slaves and never had a childhood as they should have. That’s pretty monstrous… and now the X-Men are all dead, save for the young mutants on the run, and most of it is because of him. In a way, his robot arm makes him mostly human but not quite all human, and he can relate to Logan because of that. One thing that he has that Logan lacks, however, is resources (the opposite of Bruce Wayne), and the creation of X-24 is ultimately Logan’s doom. X-24 is Logan’s Bane (damn, I really should have compared Logan to The Dark Knight Rises instead) as he represents a physical threat that makes irrelevant everything else that Logan’s abilities can do for him. Donald Pierce is the brains and X-24 is the muscle; Logan is old, weary and dying and unable to be the Wolverine that he once was in order to protect his family. X-24 kills Charles, representing the monster that Logan once was, and the surrendering of that monster is the downfall. The Wolverine kills Logan, metaphorically speaking, and Donald Pierce is the cause of that. Both heroes die in the end because of the villain, but the Joker seems to have the upper hand here for having more of a larger and lasting impression, but just by an inch. THE DARK KNIGHT WINS THIS ROUND.
I’ve pretty much already gone over the story across the last few points that I’ve made, but let’s summarize them both again real quick for a fresh look. In The Dark Knight, we have a story about a hero who battles with the morality of being the hero vs. being the man he used to be. He sacrifices himself and becomes the Dark Knight, giving himself for Gotham in order to protect his city. Before that happens, however, the Joker begins to terrorize the city, bring crime in Gotham to crazy new numbers, and kills Bruce Wayne’s love Rachel. Additionally, the Joker tears town Gotham’s true hero, Harvey Dent, and creates a villain in his stead, Two-Face, who kidnaps Commissioner Gordon’s family and almost kills his son. Similarly, in Logan, Logan sacrifices himself to protect others but actually loses his life along with Professor Charles Xavier in order to further the mutant species in the battle against the ignorance and prejudice of humanity. In the future, when all of the X-Men have been killed or disbanded, Logan, Xavier and Caliban are all that are left. When X-24, Logan’s biological daughter, comes into the story, Logan is forced to adopt his role as a father to protect Laura and Charles and save the mutant kind. No matter how intimate and heartbreaking the story of Logan was, I still think that The Dark Knight is unbeatable as a comic book story line; it’s endlessly entertaining and never lets up. Logan has some down time but The Dark Knight just never lets off the gas. THE DARK KNIGHT WINS THIS ROUND.
We could also compare score/cinematography/effects/makeup and all other technical aspects as well which would further extend this tie, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to pick one movie over the other. Logan made me cry like crazy and I have a special place in my heart for this film and franchise for many reasons; the first movies that I remember going to the store and buying were the first 2 X-Men films back in 2005 or so, and for the last 12 years, I’ve held them close to my heart because of that. I grew up on the old school Adam West Batman films until 2005 when I saw Batman Begins, but they never had me like the X-Men films did as a kid. Logan definitely hit me harder than The Dark Knight, but I’ve also only seen it once against The Dark Knight‘s dozen or so times. I couldn’t tell you which I prefer just because it’s too soon, but as of now, I call this fight a tie… the first tie that I’ve run into just because I love both of these movies so much. I may lean to The Dark Knight over time just because it’s already stood the test of time of 9 years at this point, and Logan has only been 6 days, but we shall see! What do you think? Which film do you prefer and why? Let me know! As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!