Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Claws versus Slow Death

I finally got around to watching 2017's Logan a few days ago. I'm glad I did--I have my complaints but in the main I think it's the first X-Men film to live up to the potential of the first two Bryan Singer films--mind you, I haven't seen the Brett Ratner movie or the first two solo Wolverine movies but I feel relatively comfortable making that claim. It's pretty common now for films and television series to draw inspiration from classic Westerns but Logan nails the Western feel better than most.

The film's middle portion, where Logan (Hugh Jackman), Charles (Patrick Stewart), and Laura (Dafne Keen) briefly stay with a family of farmers is the best part of the film. It brings in a surprising sense of credibility with the corporate corn farm muscling in on the family--I really liked how the trouble starts because there's no water to clean the dinner dishes. But it's also very Spaghetti western--it's not unlike the McBanes getting slaughtered at the beginning of Once Upon a Time in the West after Logan and patriarch of the farm, Will (Eriq La Salle), are met by a gang when they try to repair the sabotaged water pipes.

This is nicely paralleled by and tied to Richard E. Grant's character trying to turn mutants into a profit industry.

I only wish James Mangold had made the film a bit slower. My main complaint is that shots tend not to linger nearly as long as they should, nothing feels like it has time to settle in. But the film does work in spite of this.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both really good and the relationship between the two characters feels like a real evolution from the two as we saw in the Singer films. Where once Professor X was gently encouraging a cynical and world weary Wolverine to accept the hope promised by the mutant school we now see a world that's become much more like one that matches Logan's worldview. This is made so much more effectively painful by Stewart's performance as his Charles insists on treating young Laura and Logan with patience and gentleness even as his manner clearly shows he knows just how hopeless things have become. And he bears the weight of his own horrible mistakes.

The climax is good and it's great seeing Wolverine finally able to use his claws in a rated R film. Still, I don't blame Hugh Jackman for deciding to retire from the role after this, I can't imagine a better note to go out on.

Twitter Sonnet #1068

The trees absconded with the golden stars.
Atop the growing ornament was light.
Abeam the racing hooves a row of bars.
And all the walking fish were bade g'night.
The passing hand revealed a waiting ghost.
The hours hemmed in red and gold repair.
Mechanic routes ordained the normal toast.
The river webs announced the strange affair.
We saw the sun behind the skinny tree.
Reminders posted paint a shadow face.
The watch is running past the cup of tea.
A tablecloth askew, the only trace.
At lunch a cart ascends a thorny hill.
The garden turns for time's lethargic bill.

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