Saw Logan last night.
Haven’t seen that much blood in a movie since ‘The Passion’. This movie could be used for an online course for butcher school.
It has the feel of a horror movie especially in the first act. The music and camera angles are meant to make you anxious and even the fight scenes have a level of angst about them that you don’t usually see in the genre. Even though you know old Wolvie is still going to win it has a different feel right from the first scene. I have always liked Wolverine. He has always reminded me of the character Samson (another childhood fav) in the Old Testament and this movie is Samson, in the temple with his eyes poked out chained like a dog to a pillar.
Along with the blood comes an incredible amount of Christian imagery and existential philosophy. Sit back and start thinking about death because that is what this movie is about – the end of existence.
Like real life, no one in this movie escapes death. The wicked. The righteous. The righteous farmer. The righteous farmer who fights injustice. The righteous, black, Christian farmer who stands up to white oppression. His whole righteous hard working family. All the corporate white oppressors. The old man. The middle aged man. The shadow man. The nurse, The antagonist. The antagonist and all his henchmen. The symbolic henchman / inner demons. [Spoiler alert], even the hero dies.
Logan definitely has the suffering hero metaphor going on.
Heavy issues like depression and suicide drive the movie down the road like a runaway beat up old dump truck.
He takes no pleasure in slicing and dicing his victims. Doing it almost as a physiological response rather than an act of the will. Even the antagonist is not a formidable one. The true antagonist is Logan himself, his complete lack of meaning and his alcohol fueled depression. In the end, aren’t we all our own antagonist? He is the most human super hero yet I think.
It is a weird thing to say about a super hero movie because they are ontologically super human in that they are the embodied projections of the greatest good and the greatest bad human imaginations can think up. The greatness residing in their ‘powers’ simply amplify our mortal fight between good and evil.
Logan seems tired of this fight, though, seemingly understanding that there will always be another bad guy to skewer around the next corner. Why should he bear the weight of the responsibility of good any more? Like a lot of guys, he just wants to hide out in his garage, watch football, stay late at work and be left alone. Sisyphus has decided to not push the stone up the hill any more. He is duty bound to his ‘dad’, though. No man is an island, I guess.
Then there is the Biblical imagery. Logan is dying from being poisoned from the inside. Not unlike the concept that all humans are under the curse of sin. Poisoned, snake bitten, like the Israelites of old. Poisoned by what makes him strong, the Adamantium. Mortals are poisoned by what makes us ‘strong’ – our free will.
Also, the idea of paradise, a place you go to. A very real place (it has a latitude and longitude). A place children believe in but adults don’t, can’t. ‘Unless you become like little children…’
I was honest when I said above I haven’t seen this much blood in a movie since ‘The Passion’. You can’t have redemption without blood and Logan’s redemption requires a lot of it. By Wolverine’s stripes he is healed, as it were.
Is it enough, though?
The final scene, flanked by a wooden cross, made by a kid, and a pile of stones, I was almost expecting (hoping) a claw to come shooting out towards the sky, one…last…time….just to complete the metaphor.
But no, Mangold had the ‘courage’ to keep him buried (thank you) but he didn’t have the ‘courage’ to suggest there is eternal redemption and essence rather than just existence and legend.
The Cross has become an X and we only live on in our children – if we choose to protect them.
There is no doubt the strong male stereotype has taken a beating in our postmodern society these days. The chaste, strong, roll model that protects girls (still one of my favorite scenes) and doesn’t exploit them. He is old and beaten down and in serious need of redemption.
Maybe Wolverine is a girl now like every other protagonist it seems, but I am going to miss the dangerous, brooding, hairy chested, muscle bound mound of adrenaline fueled male testosterone that is able to keep it in his pants, protect those weaker than him and take his suffering like a man.
RIP brother, you will be missed. In the action hero genre and in society.