A different kind of hero

"Everyone here says I'm sane. What if they're wrong?" - David, "Legion"

A man suffering from schizophrenia in a mental hospital. An aging, broken down past-their-prime heroes on one last mission. A mentally battered hero with a breaking down body dragged into conflict with a superhuman marvel that can't get past the guilt and raging self doubt cast upon him by society.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think the above description was part of the plot to "Watchmen," the classic graphic novel that offered a dark, dystopic take on superheroes. But, no, this is simply reflective of a new era.

I couldn't help but reflect on this while watching "Logan" this weekend. It soared to the top of the Box Office, churning up more than $80 million. But it was decidedly different. We've seen Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Patrick Stewart's Professor X in many movies the last 17 years. But it's fair to say we've never seen them like this.

The year is 2029, and both are broken. Charles is losing is mind and Logan is losing his strength and healing. Both are broken and near the end. Worse yet, there's a world weariness that colors their view of the world.

But that's hardly the only recent superhero project of late that's painted the heroes in a different light. Last year's "Batman vs. Superman" featured two of the most iconic heroes, Batman and Superman, facing their own demons. Both of them were a little world weary. It wasn't the greatest film, but it was a fascinating take.

But few have gone as far as "Legion," the next Marvel-based series on FX which centers on David Haller, He's perhaps the most powerful mutant in the world, but he also appears to be suffering from a myriad of serious mental issues. The question posed by the series is just how crazy is David? Can he be saved?

It's a fascinating exploration, and one that's taking superheroes in a vastly different direction. With the success of "Logan," I have no doubt we'll be seeing more of this going forward. We no longer need our heroes to be idealistic or perfect, we seem to prefer them to appear more human.


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