necessary blood

Like countless millions of other people, I went to see Logan this past weekend. From that, I learned a few things:

  1. Hugh Jackman has put almost twenty years of his life into playing Wolverine. He deserved a good sendoff, and the movie delivered. I have a lot of personal respect for Mr. Jackman – he’s in a particular category of actors who’ve been in the business for decades and done a variety of high-profile films and yet still manage to live fairly normal lives and come across as decent humans and everyone who’s ever been anywhere near them talks about what a sweetheart they are – and I can only imagine how satisfying all of that must have been.
  2. Next time, check rating before seeing any movie with my parents. Especially if I’m absolutely sure it’s PG13. (For those unaware, Logan is rated R for blood, gore, and colorful swearing. But hey, there’s absolutely zero sexual content what-so-freaking-ever, so at least there wasn’t that kind of awkwardness.)
  3. There’s something weirdly satisfying about seeing an adorable preteen girl mimic some iconic maneuvers and action sequences. If you want to see a tiny terror kick serious tail in a way that’s still mindful of the fact that she is a child – read, absolutely zero sexualization whatsoever – this is the movie for you.
  4. For the first time, I saw something that normally would’ve triggered me, that I was not aware I would be seeing, and yet I was fine.

It’s that last bit that’s still making me feel things several days after seeing the film.

(minor spoilers ahead, but whatev)

About two-thirds of the way through the film, there’s a flashback sequence of sorts in which, for barely more than a heartbeat, cute little Laura cuts her wrist open with her claws. Mutations being as they are, she heals up instantly, and the narrative quickly moves on.

Normally, that little scene would’ve bugged me. Normally, I get very bitey about seeing self-harm in movies, and even more so when the person committing the act has a sheltered background. Preteen girl in medical experimentation facility should hit all my buttons. And yet it didn’t.

Maybe it helped that by that point, Laura had already expressed a personality without saying a word. Slightly sassy, a baby badass a few years from spreading her wings, curious about the world around her but also very guarded. Definitely a kid who’d try to make herself bleed just to prove that she could, or maybe just for the pleasure of watching her wounds heal up. Context is everything with troubling subjects, and this particular context made it work.

And it helped that about a third of the movie is Laura getting sweet, sweet vengeance against the monsters that created her. (Again, if you enjoy watching tiny humans replicate iconic action-movie maneuvers, Logan delivers.) She’s been victimized but she’s no victim. It makes a bit of sense that maybe she wanted to practice her powers on herself – no better way to do so, in her circumstances.

So several days later, I’m still feeling all the things, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes things stick with you. And sometimes, blood is necessary.