Tuesday, March 21, 2017

memento mori

okay so i saw logan last weekend and i have a lot of thoughts and emotions!!

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

some background: when i wrote fiction as a teenager (because that was indeed a thing i did), i always centered my stories around asshole antiheroes. something about them always seemed cooler and more relatable to me. they were more human, because they're flawed and fucked up and can't quite be the hero but they aren't evil enough to be the villain either. they're conflicted, and they struggle.

i kind of think i always wanted to be an asshole antihero, myself. i never cared if i got a happy ending, so long as i got an interesting story. (i still feel that way, actually.) also, nobody ever fucks with the asshole antiheroes for long, and given that the world was already fucking with me since i was a girl, i needed all the defenses i could get.

yet as i look back on my deep love of antiheroes, i'm 95% sure that most of it was informed by wolverine. he was basically the prototype for so many of these characters, and while he wasn't my favourite mutant (i'd have to go with psylocke here), he was the guy, you know? if you want angry and tortured, logan was your guy. that complexity was fascinating to me, and it always rang true in the stuff i wrote, too.

so of course i was glad that he was more or less made the centre of the x-men cinematic universe; i always thought hugh jackman did an a+ job in the role (who cares that he's not short when he's that good? they can't all be as 100% perfect as rdj or sam jackson) and although x-men origins: wolverine was trash, the wolverine was a great little movie. i loved all the angst over the loss of jean and the reluctant heroism from a dude who'd probably rather be left alone in the canadian wilderness, you know?

all of that was amped up to 11 for logan, the final movie in the series and the coda to the wolverine story. and when i saw it last weekend, i was not prepared.

it wrecked me. rekt, as the kids these days would say.

as i said on twitter, it wasn't quite so heartbreaking as the moment in civil war when tony confronted steve on the murder of his parents (robert downey jr. fucking slayed that scene), but man oh man did it ever stay with me. i just lay awake that night thinking about the ending and feeling hollow inside.

it had something to do with the fact that the series was essentially over (not counting the first class/days of future past side series, and i still haven't seen x-men: apocalypse and i feel bad about that), and i'd excitedly watched the x-men movies ever since the first one in 2000. as a diehard marvel fangirl who loved the x-men unreservedly when she was a kid/teen, i was over the moon to get to see that world brought to life.

but now it's 2017, and without spoilers - though i mean, it's not hard to guess - the series is over. and while i didn't love all of the movies, it's sort of haunting to realize that it's finished now, and something i loved right back to when i was 16-17 is done forever. (can't wait to feel this again when infinity war is over! jk)

i wrote about it before in this blog post from last june, but here's some of my truncated thoughts on the concept of pop culture and finality (which i've always had a hard time with):

i think, as i get older - like, out of my twenties and into my thirties - i'm starting to realize more of a concept of finality. as in, that deep-seated feeling when you know something's over for good, and won't ever be that way ever again...

and sure, it may be silly pop-culture things, but for a lot of us those things are nice distractions... i still remember all those years i watched true blood, and even though it wasn't a great show by the end, there was something oddly comforting about how, even though my life changed a lot across the progress of the show, the show was still there. you know what i mean? life's pretty turbulent, and we all need some things to cling to, to remind us that the world goes on. and when those things end too, it hurts right down to the bones, because you've lost one more little thing that marked a few years of your life.

it's weird, isn't it? but i think it's valid. i've loved pop culture and works of fiction my entire life, and it always feels strange to realize one of those universes is now closed forever. (even though yes, i know no one ever stays dead in comics, but...)

and honestly, i am completely, entirely aware that much of my view of finality is coloured by the fact that i haven't yet experienced the death of anyone close to me. i have a hard time coming to grips with the concept of death; i can't comprehend how someone can be here one day and then gone the next. even the concept of aging makes me feel weird and uncomfortable. but we're all doing it, all the time, and i can only hope that some day i accept that this is how it is.

even the immortal, never-aging wolverine is an old man in the newest movie, with a story based around the death of heroes in a universe that has long since moved on. the world of fiction has always run closer to real life than we realize half the time.

so those are my thoughts, but mostly my feelings, so i'll close by saying go see the movie when you can - it's a powerful statement on mortality, sacrifice, and release, not just for comic book fans.

[ music | phantogram, "you don't get me high anymore" ]