Monday, July 29, 2013

The Wolverine (2013)

Far, far, far better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Origins was so atrocious I wasn't even looking forward to this one.

*spoilers. Also, not overdue for once wooo!*

The Wolverine is set after the events in X-Men: The Last Stand, where Logan becomes a hobo loner tormented by his guilt for killing Jean. He is summoned to Japan by a dying literally-old friend, where he gets embroiled in Japanese intrigue and betrayal. His friend turns out to be a traitorous and ungrateful bugger (Logan saved him during WW2) that wants his healing factor whether or not Logan's agreeable to it, and, in one scene, sears off Logan's adamantium tri-claws on both sides (and not at the same time!) and starts extracting the marrow straight from the bone-claws.

Yes, that happened. But let me assure you that that's the only graphic (and butt-cringing) scene in the entire movie, as the rest of other violence is quite PG.

Personally, I dig that the movie actually took it as far as it did. In a sense it's just one more nail in the coffin for him to start appreciating life and to stop moping around.

[I don't know why I'm annoyed with Wolverine in general. Technically, the moping only happened in this movie, but he's been the main focus in the past four movies, so the overexposure probably just blurred things for me.]

My main praise for the movie comes from Logan's self-discovery. In the beginning, Logan briefly considers his friend's request to make to make him mortal, but rejects the request in part because he believes immortality isn't good for anyone. The villains then manage to suppress his regenerative ability, so he's pretty much vulnerable two-thirds of the time, and with this, it sinks in to him that regenerative qualities aren't so bad after all. He finds purpose in protecting his friend's granddaughter, Mariko, who is supposedly a target for the Yakuza (leading to the awesome fight sequence during his friend's 'funeral').

[I'll spare you the details on the intrigue, but it's pretty good, really.]

Unfortunately, this is also where my quibble with the movie comes, as this realisation of his is helped along its way by a contrived Madame Butterfly-like romance. You know, white soldier guy, young Japanese girl? It's made worse by the fact that Logan is still pining for Jean. This subplot is completely unnecessary, as the vibe I'm getting between the two is more paternal than anything, and I can't understand why Hollywood can't just let things between two people of different genders be platonic. Snow White and the Huntsman, though lousy, is the only instance I can only think of where two people don't end up falling in love with each other (except for the stupid scene where the Huntsman kisses Snow on the lips. I mean, he could've just kissed her on the forehead, right?).

Silly romance aside, and apart from a few loopholes (seriously, if his healing factor was switched off, he should be bleeding from his knuckles and feeling it every single time he snikt-ed), the movie does a fantastic job in the story and character-development departments. It's what Origins should have been like, if it didn't focus on mutant-cameoing and Deadpool and more mutant-cameoing.

Acting-wise I've no complaints. Hugh Jackman is the Wolverine, although if anyone still has any doubt, they can go refresh their memories with the previous four he's been in. He's ably supported by his Japanese cast, and thankfully (except for one scene), all the Japanese speak to each other in Japanese and not in English. Special mention goes to Will Yun Lee, whom I haven't seen in forever and kept thinking, "is he, isn't he?", because I didn't know he could speak Japanese.

[But he could!!]

Do stay for the mid-end credits scene, which nicely leads off into the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Now that is one movie that I really cannot wait to see!