Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Wolverine

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! We have two Wolverine movies...when the hell are we getting our Deadpool movie?

The Wolverine - 4 out of 5

I’m not the biggest fan of Wolverine—don’t immediately jump down to the comment section to call me names, Reader Who Likes a Comic Character That I Don’t.  I used to be a big fan of the furry, fast-healing Canuck with adamantium claws, however, as time progressed, I became tired of the mutton-chopped mutant and his seemingly repetitive anti-hero ways.  I always found his history and backstory to be addictive and interesting but, around the time we finally learned about his true lineage, I just stopped caring about the guy.  That being said, I really, REALLY like Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the man who makes up ½ of the Fastball Special (yes, this move is a basic tag team maneuver in the world of comics but we all know there is one true Fastball Special and it involves two mutants that both have some metal running through them.)

The Wolverine takes place after the painfully bad X3 and it sees Wolvie trying to deal with the grief he is suffering after having to kill the woman he cares for most in this world (and also, I assume, trying to deal with the phony abs that were glued onto Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut).  Leaving the X-men behind, Logan finds his past catching up to him after a young officer he saved from the bombing of Nagasaki informs him that he can take his healing powers away from him and let him live a normal life.  Against his wishes, his healing factor is stolen from him and it couldn’t come at a worse time as he’s finds himself repeating history and protecting the life of the (now old) officer’s granddaughter.  Now Logan must risk everything—a problem he never faced before—to prove that he is a soldier at heart and no matter how hard he tries to run, he will never escape the duty his mutant powers have granted him.

                                                                                                             20th Century Fox
Thankfully they deleted the scene where Wolvie is trying to find the used panties
vending machines.

I wasn’t a fan of X-men Origins:  Wolverine—except for the fact that the opening of the film was really freakin’ awesome and I thought I was going to have to eat my words on my prediction that the film was going to suck big fat, hairy mutant balls…and then the rest of the film happened and I had to deal with shitty acting from a Black Eyed Pea, an awful script (but that’s mostly due to the writer’s strike), piss-poor special effects, Taylor Kitsch unable to keep a Cajun accent going for longer than two seconds as Gambit and the complete and utter rape of the beloved character of Deadpool.  Surprisingly, this film was so good it actually erased my unpleasant memories of that horrible movie…until I had to write about it, that is.

I’ll admit it’s a little unfair to compare the two films because The Wolverine isn’t actually intended to be a sequel to the previous one.  Instead, it’s meant to act as a stand-alone film that just so happens to have the little berserker in it—coincidentally, it is also Jackman’s sixth time he’s portrayed Wolverine and I just think that’s cool beans…and yes, I said cool beans.

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Here ya go, ladies...actually, even I'm really fucking impressed with that physique.

Despite growing out of my Wolverine fandom years ago, I really enjoyed this movie and found it to be a refreshing story that involves Logan.  Even though I stopped caring about the comic incarnation of this X-man, I still love the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller Wolverine stories and those were heavily borrowed upon in order to create this story that sees the man with pointy hair head to Japan—honestly, some of Wolvie’s best books involved him there.  The best aspect about this movie is the fact that it wasn’t just Wolverine being typical Wolverine—you know, smoking cigars, drinking and shnicking the night away.  This was Wolverine at his most vulnerable.  He wasn’t the invincible badass who went into battle without a care in the world because his healing factor would take care of any injures, this was a Wolverine that actually realized he could die and that addition to the story made his character interesting and compelling to me and it’s been years since I’ve felt that towards the character.

All this is possible because Hugh Jackman is just that good as an actor.  Wolverine is the role that pretty much made him a star but in that time he has pretty much owned the character.  Jackman isn’t just playing the part, he is the part.  Imagine trying to see someone beside Robert Downing Jr. be Iron Man; that's how it is with Jackman and Wolverine.  And while it was nice in the past to see him goof around and squeal with delight whenever he said “bub” and brutally stabbed a person with his claws, it was even nicer to see the level of drama that Jackman could bring to the role as Wolvie is thrown into a situation that is incredibly foreign to him…and I’m not talking about the language barrier here, people.

                                                                                                              20th Century Fox he dancing?

This is the first X-title I’ve seen that truly felt like a story- and character-driven one.  While I won’t deny the awesomeness that is other X-titles like X2 and X-men:  First Class (I won’t acknowledge X3, I've already done enough of that by mentioning Juggernaut), The Wolverine was really about the mutant condition with Wolvie, so some audience members may find this change to be a boring one as the story and drama prove dominant over the action.  That isn’t to say this movie doesn’t have some killer action scenes though.

Even though the violent stuff is limited to small doses, the movie does have some awesome action sequences and amazingly entertaining and tight fight scenes.  From my perspective, the limited number of parts where Logan is slicing up Yakuza Red Shirts ended up making the scenes that much more entertaining because it never overloaded you with action.  It actually felt like the perfect blend to me.  You have a story that sees a vulnerable and lost Wolverine and killer action thrown in here and there to stop the drama from becoming monotonous…plus, that bullet train sequence is easily worth the price of admission.

                                                                                                              20th Century Fox
This action sequence is a perfect substitute for pure adrenaline injected directly into
your heart.

The only real complaint I had with the film was Svetlana Khodchenko as Viper.  Khodchenko was overacting the shit out of this role and anytime she came on the screen to chew on the scenery, she came off unbearably hammy and really cock-punch the dramatic tone the film was going for.  Thankfully, her role—while important to the story—was small and she is only giving a bare minimum of screen time, so her bad acting doesn’t destroy the film.  

                                                                                                              20th Century Fox
Her mutant power is the ability to constantly draw your eye to her mole.

When she is featured a lot in the film, she is easily overshadowed with the appearance of Silver Samurai and I really dug how they adapted that character to the film…plus, he was a part of one of those great action scenes this film gave us.

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Pictured:  Awesomely badass shit!

The Wolverine exceeded my expectations.  I walked into the theater feeling pretty much neutral to the movie—or, at the very least, expected something better than Origins—and I got a film that actually had a great story and a movie that did what no other X-film has done; made Wolverine bigger than just a shtick.

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