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  • Justin 1:58 am on July 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , James Mangold, Patrick Stewart, , X-Men Days of Future Past   

    The Wolverine | A True Wolverine Movie and Warmup for Next Year's X-Men Movie 

    the-wolverine-2-hugh-jackman-slice

    Following the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is racked with guilt over being forced to kill the woman he loved, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).  He’s resolved to put away his claws, and live in the wilderness.  His self-imposed exile is interrupted when the dying Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a man Logan saved during World War II, wants to say good-bye to his savior in person.  Reluctantly, Logan travels to Japan to honor the old man’s request, but falls into a web of intrigue when his healing power is stolen from him by the scientist/mutant Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), and he must protect Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), from shadowy forces.

    While the movie has its flaws, it is fairly true to the comics, succeeds in being a character-driven story and provides a solo / self-contained Wolverine story that holds up well in the age of big superhero movies where cities are blown up. I dare say it also has the best post-credits scene ever.

    The-Wolverine-Hugh-Jackman-image-6-600x397
    The movie  manages to hold together even though Wolverine is torn between two plotlines that have little in common other than one plotline depriving him of his powers so that he can be physically vulnerable in the other.  Nevertheless, these two tones veer between serious drama and cartoonish action, and the former is far more rewarding.  It lets Director James Mangold engage in imagery and atmosphere whereas the special effects driven set pieces feel like a sop to the action blockbuster superheroes must inhabit.  When we see Wolverine in World War II, he’s a P.O.W. and metaphorically a caged animal.  That symbol representing Logan’s inner conflict—his violent, animalistic side fighting against his human desire for forgiveness and attempting to reconcile his immortality—is the more fascinating journey.

    We won’t know how anyone else will compare to Jackman until another actor picks up the claws, but he has undeniably defined the role on-screen.  He is the Wolverine against which all other Wolverines will be judged, not just because he had the role first or the longest, but because he inhabited it so completely.  Even in the absolute clusterfuck of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman never lost sight of the character, and he always has an awareness of how to make the story come to him rather than chase the whims of the plot.  In The Wolverine, he provides some levity to the drama finding his humanity while protecting Mariko, and in the goofy comic book scenes he plays it completely straight.

    However, despite the strength of Jackman’s performance, those action scenes still make the movie an uneven and slightly less rewarding experience.  The movie admirably takes its time to build up to the first set piece, but when it gets there, it’s a cacophony of slicing and gunshots.  Somehow, the action becomes more cogent once they get on top of a speeding bullet train rather than fighting on the ground.  But the film has still made a jarring transition from character piece to its hero ducking and jumping over street signs like he’s in a video game.  Fighting a giant robot and a woman who can shed her skin is still entertaining, but it also feels much sillier when not too long ago our hero was previously coming to grips with his identity.

    Viper-Svetlana-Khodchenkova-The-Wolverine-image-1-600x494

    Thankfully, no matter how far the film goes to embrace its more cartoonish aspects, it’s still all about Wolverine as a character rather than part of a set piece.  His popularity is obviously due in part to his superpowers, but we’ve reached the point in movies where we’re seeing superpowers all the time.  Furthermore, blockbuster heroics have become so abstract that we’re debating how many innocent citizens have died so the superhero can save the day.  The Wolverine isn’t intended as a repudiation of other superhero movies, but it’s still a welcome celebration of the man who is the best at what he does even if it doesn’t involve saving the world.

    Grade: B


    I have to say, the best part of the movie for me, was the post-credits sequence (scroll down if you want to see). Looking forward to X-Men Days of Future Past.

    SPOILER WARNING:
    The scene opens with Wolverine going through the greatest hell any man or mutant can face: airport security (considering his bones are laced with metal, that must make him even more nervous than the rest of us). Whilst lining up to pass it, seeing an ad for Trask Industries (more on that later), he sees certain metal objects moving. Enter Magneto (Ian McKellan) .

    After warning Wolverine that ‘dark forces’ are on the horizon (this is presumably after he hands him a ring and tells him to chuck it into a volcano), Wolverine points out that he obviously doesn’t trust him. Magneto says that he’s brought along someone who will. Everyone in the airport sans our two focal characters freeze up and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) zooms into scene in what is the fastest wheelchair driving of all time.

    In the comics Trask Industries creates the Sentinels, hilariously big gigantic robots that end up enslaving mankind after the assassination of a US Senator: http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2012/08/04/1004/. The story is one of the most famous comic book stories (one of my personal favorites). Trask will be played by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage with most of the X-Men/X-Men 2 and X-Men: First Class casts returning. For now, Director James Mangold wanted a post credits sequence that wasn’t tongue-in-cheek (as to not take away from the movie), but substantive and meaningful for what’s to come next. 

    Personally I geeked out cause it was great to see the three back on the screen together.

    And of course if you haven’t seen it already, here is the teaser trailer for X-Men Days of Future Past:

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    • Trev 1:40 am on July 30, 2013 Permalink

      Dude, you need to sleep more or drink coffee if you almost fell asleep in this movie.

      Also, the final battle may have been fucktacularly bad, but watching Logan go toe-to-toe with Shingen after getting his healing ability back, pissed off as all hell, was worth the rice of admission.

  • Justin 1:58 pm on September 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , James Mangold,   

    The Wolverine | First Official Picture 

    Here is the first official picture of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in James Mangold’s (3:10 to Yuma) The Wolverine, which opens July 26, 2013.

    So….there is some slight image enhancement going on here.., but I mean its a comic character and everyone’s whose seen a comic book knows this is kinda appropriate. I’m hoping giving the director’s previous history, and the effort to make this movie worthy of the wolverine character (and let us forget the last one) they’ll do a decent job. We’ll know soon enough.

    Amusing to see this picture next to pics of Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in Les Mis which opens on Christmas.

     
  • paulywalnuts 2:49 am on February 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christopher McQuarrie, , James Mangold,   

    Because there are not enough superhero movies out … 

    The release date of Wolverine 2 was announced. It will come out on July 23, 2013. It is written by Christopher McQuarrie (the Usual Suspects – yay!), with additional writing by Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard – uh oh). Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan and to brush up on Hugh Jackman, watch X-Men 2 and the Prestige (yay!), Van Helsing and Happy Foot (noooo!) and the Fountain and Australia (push).

    You can also get accustomed to James Mangold’s work by renting 3:10 to Yuma, Girl Interrupted, and Walk the Line.

    Don't see X-Men 3

     
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