Sunday 4 August 2013

The Wolverine (review - spoilers)

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Wolverine fangirl.  Love the character, love Hugh Jackman.  So I have been excited about this movie coming out for years.  I really enjoyed Wolverine: Origins and initially thought this movie would be set between Origins and X-men

I was wrong.  The movie is actually set after X3: The Last Stand, which is a horrible, horrible movie that I have done my best to erase from my memory.  However, now it is necessary for continuity.  Dang it.

But leaving aside those foul dregs, The Wolverine is the story of Logan's time in Japan and his love affair with Mariko, one of my favourite Chris Claremont Wolverine storylines.  In the comics, this is originally set right after World War II, but it works well for being updated timewise.

There's been a lot of Internet praise about having filmed the movie in Japan and using Japanese actors and even .... <pause for dramatic effect> ... subtitles!  Because people in a foreign country will usually use their own language rather than speak in English so the unseen audience can understand.  I'll add my kudos to the theirs, aside from having everyone dress in black for the funeral (white is the cultural colour of mourning in Asia), the realism added substance and made a great symbol for Wolverine being increasingly out of his depth.

The movie opens in the Yukon.  Wolverine has gone to ground (as he so often does ... it's almost a cliché for his stories to start this way) and for a guy with adamantium blades in his arms, he has apparently forgotten how to cut his hair or shave.

Not that I'm complaining.  For some reason, the mountain man look works for me.  But soon enough, he's back to his original trademark pointy locks.

Take a moment to enjoy.  Mr. Jackman worked hard for that physique and we should all take time to be properly appreciative.

The story progresses well although I have to agree with critics that the third act loses some momentum.  I don't agree with the common criticism that the story was too character based.  This is supposed to be Logan's big emotional adventure, if you just want to watch him hit things, I'm sure there's a video game for that.  I thought bringing in Famke Jansen to reprise her role as Jean Grey as a recurring dream in his subconscious was a great way to keep Wolverine as a stoic character but still give us some insight as to what was happening.  (When your subconscious is telling you it's time to give up and die ... you have issues.)

I was expecting Mariko to die before the credits.  That's what happens in the comics and I thought they were foreshadowing her death when Logan had to mercifully kill the poisoned grizzly (who neither looked nor moved like a grizzly ... bad animators!).  But she survives, giving her the longest lifespan of one of Wolverine's girlfriends yet (they usually have a shorter shelf life than discount milk). 

I only have a few complaints about the movie and most of them are pretty minor (the bear, the funeral clothes and the Gandalf/Balrog reenactment during the final fight).  Overall, I thought they did a good job bringing it to life.  I've seen it twice so far and will likely see many more times in future.  Probably not in theatre because I can't afford it but that DVD is mine once it's out.

They even managed to revive my interest in the X-men franchise with their credit bonus scene which promises Sentinels and that usually means Days of Future Past storylines.  <happy geek dance ... not pretty but exuberant>

Now, I'll admit, it would have to have been a pretty crappy movie before I would have disliked it.  Aside from my fandom, Hugh Jackman spends an impressive amount of the movie shirtless, which is never a bad thing.

I enjoyed it.  I'd recommend it to others.  I'll force other people to see it. 

It's all good.

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