You Have Struggled Long Enough. I Can End Your Eternity…
I was very excited to see today’s movie, but I was also a little suspicious. There is a person at my job who I constantly engage in conversation about comic books movie, and I found myself shocked by the fact that she did not intend to see this movie. But I also understood her logic. The previous movie for this character was the ass. I found it to be one of the most irritating comic book movies in recent history because of how poorly they handled some of my favorite comic book characters. That being said, my argument for her was that none of these problems tied into today’s movie. None of the same writers or directors were involved in this movie, so I had no reason to believe they’d make the same shitty choices. And I never had a problem with the person playing the main character. He’s played this character in five movies previously, and the greater majority of those movies were good, and he was good in all of them. So I still had high hopes for The Wolverine, written by Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, and Christopher McQuarrie, directed by James Mangold, and starring Hugh Jackman, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Famke Janssen, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart.
In 1945, the mutant known as Logan (Hugh Jackman), also known as Wolverine, saves the life of an officer named Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Years later, Yashida sends a precognitive mutant named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) to bring Logan to Tokyo to give Yashida the chance to repay his debt to Logan before he dies. His offer: to negate Logan’s healing abilities so that he can finally live life as a mortal man. Since that offer is so goddamned stupid, Logan refuses, but Yashida’s nurse, Dr. Green (Svetlana Khodchenkova), introduces something into him that negates his healing anyway. And then Yashida dies. Now Logan must try to protect Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), from Yakuza and Ninjas without the use of his healing abilities until she is put in charge of Yashida’s company, as Yashida’s will states.
Sadly, I found myself pretty disappointed with this movie, but it did have its charms that elevated it far above Wolverine’s previous outing. So it was an improvement and a disappointment simultaneously. The story of the movie was fine, but I had problems with a lot of the writing. There were so many occasions where they had the opportunity for a great line, but the one they chose just fell flat. Like the part where the Yakuza guy tells Wolverine that he never talks. That’s perfect for a great line! Instead, Wolverine just stabs him and he talks. And later when someone says, “Don’t hit my friends.” That’s such a weak line where such a potentially great one could have been. Instead it sounds like an elementary school student standing up to a bully. Later, when someone asks Wolverine what kind of monster he is and he throws back, “The Wolverine,” I know what they were going for. I assume they wanted me to get all excited because I had seen that on the poster before I came in, but I just wanted more. They were able to set up fantastic lines, but completely unable to deliver them. I found it to be quite a bummer.
I guess I was okay with the rest of the story though. I was worried about the premise of the movie as I knew it going in. All I really knew was going to happen in this movie was that Wolverine would lose his healing abilities. That made me nervous that he wouldn’t be able to be as badass as I needed him to be. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. He was noticeably diminished, but he maintained a great enough deal of badassitude. His friend Yukio could’ve been a little more helpful though. I mean, she was precognitive, but was never really forthright with her information. She tells Wolverine that she has some important information for her, but is cut off when he says she needs her to drive him somewhere, and then she tells him after they arrive. You showed us some of that long car ride. We know you had time to tell him. That was information he could have needed. As for more information that someone could have needed: we later find out that the Silver Samurai is made mostly from adamantium. If only he had known that before he chose his name. There were also a few things that I need to say, but I need to hide them in a ::SPOILER ALERT:: When Yoshida says that Wolverine should not look so shocked that he was in the Silver Samurai outfit, he was right. No one should have been shocked by that. Also, the movie bummed me out by not giving Wolverine his adamantium claws back by the time the movie ended. The bone claws are lame. I don’t want him to have to start another movie with those. Couldn’t they just have decided that Mariko used the company’s obvious knowledge of how to shape adamantium to give them back? It’s not like they didn’t have some spare adamantium lying around after the Silver/Adamantium Samurai was destroyed. ::END SPOILER:: I would have to say that I liked the after credit sequence, and that you should make sure you stick around for it.
The cast in the movie was very strong. Especially Hugh Jackman. He looked so goddamned strong in this movie. There was not a vein in his body that was not on display. At least not north of the belt line. He was awesome though. Maybe not the most awesome person though, and I’m basing that mainly on his relationship with Mariko. I know Wolverine has the tendency to knock the bottom out of some lucky lady, but this girl was already married AND in love with that Japanese Hawkeye guy, and Wolverine still had to get his dick wet. And right after that came another problem: why does anyone ever sleep next to Wolverine? He has the terrible habit of stabbing people that sleep next to him. He stabbed Rogue in the first movie, almost stabbed his girlfriend in Origins, almost stabbed Mariko, dream-stabbed Jean Gray. Stop sleeping next to him! If you want the sex; get it and get out! After him, I didn’t really think that much about anyone else in the cast. Hiroyuki Sanada was fine. Tao Okamoto was cute and did well. Rila Fukushima caused no complaints. I guess I was never really on board with Svetlana Khodchenkova’s performance. Just didn’t do it for me. She was hot though, so she doesn’t really need to act that well.
The Wolverine disappointed me with a decent story riddled with mediocre dialogue that could’ve (and should’ve) been so much more awesome than it was. But I felt like the action was able to keep a good enough pace even though Wolverine himself was diminished by the story elements for a good part of the movie, and the performances mostly did a great job. Overall I suppose I’d say that I enjoyed the movie, and certainly a lot more than I liked Wolverine’s previous outing, but I just wanted this movie to be more. Definitely worth watching, but you can probably wait for a rental. The Wolverine gets “Is that all the men you brought?” out of “It’s an honor to meet the Wolverine.”
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