Another Note

*New column! And there's two recent theatrical release subjects this time around: the Death Note spin-off L: Change the WorLd, and the limited-run arthouse sensation X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Dedication must be made to Chris Mautner, who convinced me to pit both of these solo outings for wildly popular ensemble fantasy hero types against one another; it's a way better piece for his advice.

The L movie is a really odd thing too; I didn't go very far into this in the review itself, but it's pretty striking how active it gets in repudiating a lot of the stylish amorality of Death Note, along with a lot of the plot mechanisms. Like, there's an early Ryuk cameo where L just blows his temptations off without a second glance and he tosses the Death Notes into the fire (FACT: they make haunted house noises while burning) and that's pretty much the end of that.

Then there's the whole routine with K, the 'bad' Wammy's kid, which basically serves to posit the psychological fallout of L's lifestyle in the prior movies, while kinda sneering at the idea of doing the 'awesome head games between sociopaths' routine again. This isn't a clever villain we're dealing with; she even openly dismisses the idea of trying to outsmart L, in dialogue, and while (as Chris notes at the above link) this does play into the barely-disguised chauvinism that runs through basically all of greater Death Note, it also acts as kind of an answer to the clean, cool, charismatic murders of the source material. People bleed in this, they scream and roll around in agony and take forever to die, and the killers are awful, thoughtless, compromised, pretentious thugs, and L's character arc hinges on working in opposition to all that.

Which... that does basically kill the whole 'Death Note' angle of the movie, and I can't imagine a good chunk of viewers won't be sort of annoyed with the thing's open rejection of virtually everything that made Death Note ugly, addictive fun. There's a real whiff of contempt to this, which I think is noteworthy. I really wonder where the upcoming, maybe-really-gonna-happen Hollywood version is planning to go.

As for ol' Logan, well, there's isn't all that much more to say, save for the fact that the climactic action fan-service pit fatality showdown takes place at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Central Pennsylvania -- roughly 35 miles away from where I'm writing this now -- which raised a few laughs from the audience; in the big concluding pull-back, some kid shouted "I CAN SEE MY HOUSE!!" Hey, you do what you can.