Friday, January 10, 2014

The Wolverine

As a big comic book nut, I stayed away from The Wolverine when it came out in theaters. I had seen the trailers and while it looked cool, there was nothing that jumped out at me and begged me to see the film. So I waited and I acquired it for Christmas. I got the "Unleashed Extended Edition" but I think all that amounts too is more violence past the PG-13 level. In my Blu-ray you actually saw Woverine's claws penetrate people, or someone would get stabbed and you would see the claws coming out the other side. You could never see that in previous X-men films. Go watch the school scene with Wolverine in X2: X-men United and tell me if you see any of those goons get stabbed or run through. They act like you do, we just don't see it.

I don't know about you, but I enjoyed X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The CGI claws were terrible, and they ruined Deadpool, but I enjoyed the parts with Sabertooth. I think that was the best parts of the movie. So with all that said, I don't know why I didn't rush out to see The Wolverine. After seeing it at home, I was disapointed I didn't. The Wolverine is a GREAT X-MEN FILM. Neck and neck with X-Men: First Class. After seeing this, I'm really jazzed for the next X-Men movie Days of Future Past.

Back to the film. The journey from Northern Canada to Tokyo is staggering. Both for the viewer and for our hero. Wolverine and the viewer feel so lost in Tokyo, you are trying to figure out what is going on just as Wolverine is. In fact, I don't know that Wolverine and the viewer ever figure out what's going on at the end of the film. But I don't fault the film for that! The film is an experience, it has a certain vibe, and you need to watch it to find out. James Mangold does a really great job creating a mood and a feeling with this film. You never feel safe, you and Wolverine are always on edge until the credits roll.

Another thing great in the film is the Japanese cast. The girls who play Yukio and Mariko are fantastic. At first glance, Rila Fukushima, who plays Yukio looks like a character out of an anime, and I didn't like her look per se, but I loved her after finishing the film. I hope that if we have another Wolverine solo film we get more Yukio. I think the standout scene was the bullet trains sequence. This here felt like there was minimal CGI for the backgrounds, and a lot of well done wire-work and fight choreography. Definitely a visceral scene. As far as sheer brutality? The Ninja fight. Brutal! I think this is where the "Unleashed Extended Version" came in. I'm curious to see what it was in theaters, because some of what happened here was definitely not PG-13. More of that in the next Wolverine solo film!

The Wolverine is not your typical action/X-men/comic book film. I would put it more along the lines of Nolan's Batman films than the past X-men films and other Marvel movies that have been made. Check it out, it's well crafter and worth your time.

4.5 out of 5 Stars

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