We’re going more rapid-fire this morning, what with my gray matter still trying to reconcile the whirlwind of the last week and a half. Did you know that sleep deprivation can actually…wait, what were we talking about? Ah yes, the Cubs. Or something. Here, let’s let someone else do the heavy lifting.
- CSN Chicago’s Tony Andracki (whose work I really like and should promote more often) has a look at Jeimer Candelario, who’s putting up yet another breakout performance at major league camp
- Buzz Killington of the Chicago Sun-Times looked for deficiencies on this Cubs team, most of which were circumstantial; to be fair, this was written by Rick Morrissey and most of the piece was positive
- We’re trying to raise a little money for Joe Maddon‘s Hazleton Integration Project and we’re raffling off some cool prizes to do it; last day to enter
- If you’ve been waiting to get your World Series gear or just want to add more, Fanatics has a bunch of stuff on clearance
CI movie review: Logan (pretty much spoiler-free)
This is a a little weird and out of character, but I wanted to write a quick review of this flick because it’s part of the reason I’m a little fried. The most obvious and oft-stated praise for Logan is that it’s the best of the X-movies. In fact, I’d easily put it atop a list of all the Fox-housed Marvel movies. Gone were the campiness and forced levity of previous iterations of Wolverine and/or Professor X, replaced by haggard shadows of those iconic personalities.
No longer content to merely hint at the damage Weapon X was capable of, this movie shied not from gore and violence. Same for profanity, which I thought bordered on gratuitous at times. While it may just be my puritanical streak acting up again, I felt as though the writers were dangerously close to using F-bombs as script crutches to show us just how dark this movie really was supposed to be.
While a novice to the genre might have been left wanting when it came to backstory, I appreciated that director James Mangold saw fit to dispense with the overt flashbacks and long bouts of “remember when…” dialogue. Instead, we were given skeletal plot points around which we were forced to flesh out some of our own conclusions. We didn’t need to see or hear exactly what happened to each of the other X-Men in the past to understand the gravity of Logan’s present.
Patrick Stewart was great as an aged and infirm Professor Charles Xavier and Hugh Jackman did an excellent job of portraying the flagging strength of the titular character who had always been the best he was at what he did. And what he did wasn’t very nice. That’s a play on something Wolverine has said before, not an indictment of the actor’s portrayal. Newcomer Dafne Keen stole the show as Laura/X-23, one of a group of lab-created super-soldier children seeking shelter from their creators.
There was a good deal of emotional heft to the movie, particularly if you’re familiar with these characters and have followed them on the pages of comics and/or the silver screen. Even for those who don’t have a connection, like the woman to my right who was speaking to the dude next to her in not-very-hushed tones, I’d imagine the events were still impactful.
The fight scenes and action sequences were well choreographed — I particularly enjoyed the one that looked to me like a clear callback to the climactic battle in that all-time classic, Universal Soldier — and didn’t overpower the emotional content that made up a bulk of the film. And the gore wasn’t over-the-top, either, just enough to make you start in your seat on occasion.
Despite what I said earlier, I did leave feeling as though Mangold could have pulled back the curtain just a little more at times. Then again, hearing that a Sabretooth cameo was scrapped in order to avoid turning the movie into a full-on nostalgia piece makes me think the director was better off staying demure.
All things considered, this was an excellent film and one that you really should see in the theater if you have the opportunity. It would have been even better had I watched at one of the places that serves beer, as I’d have loved a cold three while taking in the mayhem. I also found myself really loving the utter badassery of Laura, a little girl who’s quite the departure from sugar and spice and everything nice. She’s like my daughter, if Addison had adamantium claws and a nigh insatiable bloodlust.
Final grade: B+ with potential for A- if you add in the opening Deadpool scene, which took the place of the anticipated post-credits teaser.
I’m considering doing more of these movie reviews, but that really depends on whether I get more “stick to sports” or “yeah, these are cool.” Thanks as always for reading and supporting.