Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Wolverine (2013): Finally got it right, bub.

Lop it off! Lop it off!
I walked into The Wolverine knowing next to nothing about the film. It turned out to be a sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which I missed out on, but which appears to have been universally panned. If I'd had any clue about the aura of negativity surrounding it's predecessor, I would have been apprehensive about paying for a cinema ticket, but luckily I got to go in without fear. Although I have to question the logic behind showing the movie trailer for the show you're about to watch directly before the movie itself- talk about last minute spoilers. Oh well. Without further ado, my thoughts, in point form (minor spoilers ahead):

1. I thought this film was to be about the Weapon-X program. Guess not- the aforementioned trailer cleared things up most neatly.

2. Big question. Did Marvel buy back the rights to Wolverine? Did they not? Is this a stand-alone film, or does it continue from an earlier X-film? This bugged me until the very end- the post-credits scene, while interesting enough, was groan inducing for me, since I was not happy with everything it implied. More on that later.

3. If the city you are in is nuked, it helps to have a hole to hide in.

4. Wolverine's Japanese name is '"Kuzuri", not Kusuri (medicine) or Kusari (Chains)- which is what I kept hearing, for some reason. I'm glad they didn't go with the Katakana English version of it- but now I can't help but wonder why there's an actual Japanese equivalent for Wolverine... I don't think they (the animals) are naturally present in Japan, at any rate.

5. Did they use a real bear? Or a robotic doll? CGI? Or did they put someone in a fancy bear suit? Either way, good job, teddy.

6. That old man (Yashida Shingen) has a swell automatic bed. You need to see it to believe it. I wonder if it can do acupuncture as well.

7. Here's something I found myself thinking for the rest of the film, from her first appearance: Yashida Mariko (Okamoto Tao) is a real belle, and... I really hope she doesn't die and fall into hell, like in the comics.

8. I don't get why nobody spotted or said anything about the suspicious guy running around on the rooftops.

9. I love how they left large parts of the dialogue in Japanese. And left out the subtitles, to the confusion of 99% of the audience, who must have though that they were saying something dirty (they weren't).

10. That being said, key dialogue between two Japanese characters were spoken in English for some reason, which was quite disappointing.

11. Jean Grey aka Phoenix pops up every other night (in-movie) in Wolvie's dreams, showing off her ample cleavage. It's quite distracting, although it's really an instant answer to point 2.

12. Three cheers for circumstantial cohabitation. It was nice how they made Wolvie blind to cultural differences- though you could always argue that he's uncultured.

13. I'm stunned that the neighborhood didn't start gossiping about the new couple! Wait, maybe they did. That old lady who dropped by to ask for Logan's help in chopping wood- yep, they just wanted to see him take off his shirt.

14. A curse on film censorship. You show Wolverine getting shot, stabbed, and poisoned, but you edit the short Mariko and Logan's brief snuggle moment. Jolly good show.

14. Oh Logan. You're the Wolverine, not the Juggernaut. What's with the mindless charge?

15. I did not like how Wolvie lost his claws. Especially when compared to the comics, where he lost them by having Magneto rip every ounce of adamantium from his living body... well, I suppose they'd have a hard time putting something like that through the censors.

16. Oh Logan (again?!). Just retire and stay in Japan. Maybe join the Iron Chef show.

Now for a brief comment on the post-credits scene. This blew away the last fragments of doubt I had that this show was set in the same timeline as that of the dismal X-Men: The Last Stand. Ignore the next paragraph if you don't want to be spoiled:

People freeze in mid-movement, and metal items rattle and shake. The cause of the latter effect was obvious- Ian McKellen. He's a great Gandalf, but I've never liked him as Magneto- just too old and feeble looking. After that- Professor Xavier showed up, apparently not dead or blasted into bits by Phoenix, but very much alive, thereby establishing that death has no meaning in this timeline, much like in the comics.

All this will eventually lead up to 2014's Days of Future Past film- I'm not sure how they'll make Magneto older than he already is- I guess they'll have to meddle with the plot substantially. Having resigned myself to having an unexciting and old(er?) Magneto, I can only hope that they don't make a mess out of Rachel Summers.

Back to Wolverine. Overall, I'd say this was a decent film- a pleasant mix of violent action and tender moments- with the action never going overboard, and the romance feeling natural. The internet seems to be in agreement that it's a much better film than its predecessor, X-Men Origins: Wolverine- I can't comment, not having seen that film, but it's definitely not something I'd want to put in the same league as with the horrible Last Stand. Out of all the X films so far, I'd put this one just one notch below the excellent First Class.


  1. Nice review. Though it's not perfect, I still enjoyed myself and can't wait to see what they have stored next for this franchise.

    1. Thanks. I really hope they can improve on this and do an even better job on Days of Future Past.