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|Index||548 reviews in total|
It's fairly interesting going back and watching the thus-far six
entries in 20th Century Fox's "X-Men" film franchise. From a solid
start with Bryan Singer's excellent first two films, through the plunge
into mediocrity with Brett Ratner's shockingly underwhelming third
entry and the subsequent (and almost equally as underwhelming) fourth
entry, which also focused on a solo-adventure of "Wolverine." Then
there was a glimmer of hope with the extremely strong and very
well-made "X-Men: First Class", which redeemed the series in a big, bad
way. It lived up to Singer's first two installments (which isn't
surprising, as Singer was a producer and co-writer after his 2-film
absence), and gave new hope for the series.
And it is nice to see that this revitalization of the series continues in this newest entry, a solo-film for everyone's favorite clawed antihero- "The Wolverine." While it may not quite live up to "First Classes" first-class storytelling and direction, this entry in the franchise is still another step in the right direction, giving us a solid storyline, great visual direction, and a stronger depiction of the character than in his prior solo-effort.
Hugh Jackman returns as Logan/Wolverine, some time after the death of his beloved Jean (Famke Janssen, who returns in several dream-like sequences) in "X-Men: The Last Stand." He now lives as a hermit in the Yukon, living off of the land and away from civilization as much as he can. However, he is soon located by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), and taken to Tokyo, Japan to meet with Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), whom he had saved from the Nagasaki nuclear blast in WWII. However, after a deadly series of events occurs, Yashida dies and Logan is forced to protect his granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from various forces, all while discovering that something, or someone, has somehow been able to suppress his healing capabilities, making him mortal and weak for the first time.
The cast is great. Jackman is as (for lack of a better description) awesome as ever as good-old Wolverine, but he is also able to pull off some great dramatic moments as well. It's a great, compelling performance. Janssen is very decent in her small role, as a figment of Logan's imagination, reminding him of all he's lost. Rila Fukushima is a lot of fun as the mutant Yukio, as is Tao Okamoto as Mariko, whom Logan is sworn to protect. And Haruhiko Yamanouchi is very interesting in his limited role as Yashida. And all of the actors portraying secondary characters are equally solid as the lead cast.
James Mangold's direction is top notch. I'm only familiar with some of his prior work (mainly in the excellent "3:10 to Yuma" and "Identity"), but here, he is able to adapt to the almost Sci-Fi tone and the rampant action with ease, conveying just the right tone and style to tell this story correctly. I also highly admired his fantastic visual choices, and choice in shot and composition. The direction was top-notch, for sure.
Scott Frank and Mark Bomback's script is also a lot of fun. It's tightly paced, well-constructed, and gives just the right balance between action, development and even a little dark humor here and there. Although I will admit it is far from a perfect script. Some scenes are pure cheese (including, sadly, many of Janssen's scenes as Jean Gray), and the storyline itself is unfortunately nothing to write home about. It's a bit basic and cliché. And it really is what holds this film back from getting a higher score. It's not a bad script. But it's just not quite as good as it could have been.
The rest of the production is very admirable, though. Costume and set design is fantastic. The visual effects are awe-inspiring and put the cheap-looking crap from Wolverine's last solo-film to shame. And the music by Marco Beltrami, while not one of his finest scores, is still a lot of fun, and it compliments the words and images on screen very well.
This is thankfully another step forward for the "X-Men" film series. And it is thankfully (and finally) a film the likes of which Wolverine deserves. It may not be perfect, but it's fast, ferocious fun, and I think fans of the character will dig it.
"The Wolverine" gets a good 7 out of 10 from me.
This is a wonderful film on every level. I honestly prefer my summer
films to have substance and be more than just "mindless popcorn
entertainment". To me, a movie achieves excellence when judging them by
these things: If the film was able to capture the heart of the story
while fleshing out complete characters that are challenged by
meaningful obstacles. If the use of CGI and effects were wisely chosen
and used to further the plot itself. If the movie used its own ideas
and is well structured. If an adventure film truly thrills and delivers
intrigue. And finally, if the actors, cinematographers, and producers
were able to flow with the director's vision and deliver using their
own particular craft.
That being said, The Wolverine works on all those levels.
By now even non-Marvel comics devotees know the persona of The
Wolverine, primarily because he has been recreated by actor Hugh
Jackman six times (and if you pay attention to the film's ending it
seems there will be more
). Writers Mark Bomback and Scott Frank have
elected to place the action of this version in Japan both in the time
of the Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki and the present. Much of the reason
this version works well is due to the fact that the action is all in
the beauty of Japan of today not only the scenery but also the
symbols and traditions. Director James Mangold gives this version of
Wolverine adventure a hefty dose of compassion and human feeling and
that adds significantly.
According to the short synopsis form 20th Century Fox, 'In modern day Japan, Wolverine is out of his depth in an unknown world as he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.' That states it well. Add to that description the many fights and magic that occur before our eyes and the content is complete.
Hugh Jackman is in buff form as a very tender Wolverine (Logan) this time around (flashbacks to his loss of his love, Famke Janssen, add spice). Others who make solid appearances include Tao Okamoto as the important Mariko, Rila Fukushima as Logan's sidekick, Svetlana Khochenkova as the evil Viper, Hiroyuki Sanada as a credible Shingen, and Ken Yamamura and Haruhiko Yamanouchi sharing the role of Yashida.
A bit on the long side, the film provides the expected visual entertainment, and this time there is a bit more humanity infused as well. Grady Harp, December 13
I'm not sure if this film counts as sequel or a reboot or what but it
certainly feels like another run at making a Wolverine film rather than
a sequel to the first attempt at it. From the very start the tone is
noticeably darker which I guess is to try and placate fans who don't
like the family friendly version of the character that was more or less
served up before. Although this dark edge isn't really present in more
than the mood, it is a more satisfying tone to the film and it engaged
me more as a result. The second thing it did well was to set the vast
majority of the film in Japan and to blend the reality of the country
(tradition, bullet trains, pachinko arcades) with the version that will
appeal to the target audience comic book fans (beautiful women,
samurai, ninjas etc).
This setting gives the film an sense of cool that matches that of its central character and of course of its main star. This cool factor helps it a lot because the plotting is not particularly strong; good enough to frame the film but nothing special. Unfortunately the same can be said about the action. It is perfectly fine for what it is but in terms of action sequences there was only really one scene that I felt was pushing me and showed ambition and this was the action spreading out across Tokyo in the daytime. Outside of this there are some good martial arts scenes and then lots of CGI nonsense all of which was fine but no more than this. I enjoyed the film but I never got away from the sense that this was a very careful film; the reaction to the previous had not been great and it felt like it was really making effort to not mess things up. This lack of real flair or risk taking was apparent and, while not enough to really hurt the film, certainly didn't see it excel.
The cast are as reliable as the film as a whole. Jackman is as good as Wolverine as he has ever been and he makes the most of his haunted and violent character; it really is a character that he was born to fit. Looking like she came right out of a graphic novel, Fukushima is a cool presence as "bodyguard" Yukio while Okamotois suitably fragile. Outside of this Will Yun Lee is cool in a rather obvious character but is underused. Khodchenkova does feel a little like someone who wouldn't have made the cut into the main X-Men movies and she didn't have the sexual presence that the film needed, even if she had the looks. The supporting cast of Japanese standard characters are fine and do what is asked of them.
The Wolverine is a solid, safe film which is enjoyable for what it does even if I would have liked more from it. It plays things safe for the most part, giving the viewer more or less what they expect but not pushing things beyond that. It'll do the job but it never has the style, flair, imagination or cruelty that I had hoped it would bring.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucked prepare to be wrong cause The Wolverine rocks. Hugh Jackman returns as Logan and totally nails it i love the great sense of humor, the cgi is amazing and the enemies don't need to be mutants every time you have Yakuza, Ninjas, Viper and the Silver Samurai i also loved the little redhead chick she kicked a lot of butt. The cast did a good job and i think James Mangold did a pretty cool job on directing the film he also directed Sylvester Stallone in Copland another movie i absolutely loved. Also the End Credits scene picks up for the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past and i also thought the Soundtrack was amazing. Also The Wolverine picks up some years after X-Men: The Last Stand and it's a sequel to X-Men: Origins and by far my favorite X-Men film. Can't wait for Wolverine 3.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't watch The Wolverine in theaters, and boy do I regret it now.
The Wolverine is different from most of the other X-Men movies. It's
probably the least significant of all of them, as it has virtually NO
impact on any part of the main story of the X-Men (apart from a post-
credits scene). What it DOES have impact on, though, is the story of
Logan's journey as the Wolverine.
This is not your average comic-book film. It's mature, realistic, gritty, and most of all grisly, something even the Dark Knight trilogy wasn't. Not for the squeamish at all. But, it's an unforgettable tale of a warrior and his journey, and the sacrifices he makes to do good.
What I didn't like about The Wolverine, is probably some of the dialogue, which was crass and profane for no other reason other than being crass and profane. For example, Yukio says to Logan, "Don't be a d**k." I know the movie's trying to be gritty and mature, but dialogue like this just sounds silly. Also, the twist at the end is pretty far- fetched, but I don't see a problem in Adamantium getting cut. When a metal is heated till it lights red, it can very well melt a metal of the same type. I do think that Viper was unnecessary, though.
Otherwise, the film is brilliant, and does an amazing job at telling a tragic tale of a soldier going through so much for justice. Director James Mangold sometimes uses peculiar imagery, that reminds me of the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. It definitely adds to a film of this size and scope. The action is great too, some really sweet martial-arts mixed with Wolverine's rage and a visceral train-fighting sequence as well.
The Wolverine is most probably the best comic-book movie of 2013. It's sad, moving, but complete and engaging. I don't think I'll have to state anything in particular about Hugh Jackman. He was the Wolverine, is the Wolverine, and will be Wolverine forever. I'd hate to see anyone replace him.
Better than Origins by a milestone.
During WWII, prisoner Logan (Hugh Jackman) saved the life of Yashida
when the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Now Yashida, on his deathbed,
proposes to return the favor. Logan is haunted by the death of Jean
Grey (Famke Janssen) promising never to inflict violence. Yukio (Rila
Fukushima) retrieves Logan from America. She's a great warrior with the
ability to see people's future deaths. Yashida tells him that he could
transfer his immortality to another. Then he's attacked by Dr.
Green/Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). Yashida's granddaughter Mariko
(Tao Okamoto) is in danger and Logan steps in to save her.
As often is the case with Wolverine, he starts off living in isolation. Going to Japan is a very interesting move for his character. His loner mentality is perfect there. I really like the first half. It has great action and some fitting humor. It also has good intrigue. The second half does take a break. I'm not impressed with Tao Okamoto's acting. She has one tone and her character lacks energy. On the other hand, I really like Rila Fukushima. She exudes energy and has more fun in her character. She's a good sidekick to Wolverine. The final battle do drag on a little too long. Overall, this has a good look, some good action, and a little bit of humor. Director James Mangold does a good job pulling it all together.
Am I the only one who's getting sick and tired of all these Emo.
superheroes. Who got all these amazing powers, yet all they can do is
walk around and p*** & moan about them? "It's a curse", "I hate being a
super hero", "It's so hard to have all this power", "it bites so much
to be able to kick anyone's but". Boohoo,cry me a river. In the X-men I
grew up reading, Logan kicked major but. He was tough, mean, nasty and
edgy. Constantly in Cyclops face over the smallest thing. The Logan in
Wolverine is just a kitten with a hang over, who walks around hating
him self. This is pretty much what he does in this movie, can't even
fight a few ninjas, which in the comics he went through like a hot
knife through butter.Seem to recall he actually enjoyed slicing and
dicing ninjas. And where's the blood? He slices and dices people left
and right but there's no blood, they just fall down and than they get
up again. (I'm pretty sure he hit the same Japanese mafia guy 3
different times.) This is very far from the Japanese saga I grew up
reading, where Mairiko was about Logan's age (40-50ish, and her brother
was the silver samurai,with no super power,just a sword and armor. And
the girl who works as he's sidekick;Yukio, didn't have any special
powers, as far as i can recall from the comics:she was athletic and had
some throwing knives,that was about it And what was this viper chick
doing in the story? There was no point in her being there, she was
suppose to be some femme fatal, but I really didn't get her role in
this saga. They didn't reveal her motive for helping out the bad guys.
I get the impression they take a whole bunch of different stories and
just mix em together into a movie script.
The story line didn't make sense at all. I was a bit disappointed and was hoping it would have more action in it,the best part of X-men 2 was when they attacked the school building,and Logan/wolverine got to go berserk.I was missing more of that here. But I must be said that Hugh Jakcman is doing a great wolverine
This film deserved much better than it got, I think this was one of the
most true X-Men related films of them all. To the Boneheads who are
spouting "Who Wrote This?" - Well, blame Chris Claremont and Frank
I've got a copy of that first Wolverine Mini-Series, original printing.
If you take this story and strip out the Mechanized Silver Samurai and Viper alterations, it's that exact story. The main characters are all there: Yukio,Mariko, Viper, Shingen, The Silver Samurai, and The Black Hand (Later referred to as "The Hand" in the books).
There are also elements from early 90's Wolverine arcs, as Wolverine, when he had been stripped of Adamantium by Magneto in X-Men (Vol II) #25 and Wolverine #75, he wandered the world carrying the Sword of The Yashida Clan, which is shown in this film - A Sword made out of Metal from a Meteor, which Wolverine used to incapacitate the evil "Bloodsport/Bloodscream" later on in the series and later entrusted back to the Human Silver Samurai.
There is even a nod to "Cyber" - An evil Mutant who was completely encased in Adamantium, who was the only enemy Wolverine really feared- Who was killed in Wolverine #100, his Adamantium leeched by Tyler Summers (Cyclop's Grandson from his son Cable) which he intended to put back into Logan but Logan refused to go through the bonding process and this reverted his genes and gave him an animal-like appearance.
I don't remember the time-line much, it has after all been 30 years. Around that same time Professor X's son, Legion, went back in time to kill Magneto but kills Professor X instead, causing the "M'kraan Crystal" of the Shi'ar to crack, bending reality, thus causing the "Age of Apocalypse", an Alternate Timeline where it was all changed: And the Goal of that X-Men, led by Magneto, was to repair the M'kraan Crystal. This arc was done over 6 months worth of Alternate X-Men titles.
Eventually all these arcs lead up to "Days of Future Past": And indeed, there is a huge reference to this at the end of the film.
If anyone had followed the 1988 (Volume II) Wolverine, set in "Madripoor", they would remember two fellows, Roughhouse and Bloodsport who hounded Wolverine incognito as "Master Patch" - And so I initially thought that this rendition of "Viper" (Svetlana Khodchenkova) was a female version of Bloodsport, as Bloodsport was the only enemy that could suck out Wolverine's Healing factor. And, as Bloodsport/Scream's goal was to suck all of the life out of Logan, this is apt as the elder head of the Yashida Clan takes on this goal.
But that was not the case, although Viper's Ability to weaken Logan's Mutant Healing factor was similar to Bloodsport/Scream, she was her own villain with her own agenda.
As far as the film, this was the best X-Men related film since 2000, and as much as I liked "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" I like this one much more: Because none of the other films really got into who Logan really is, the fatalistic, tired of living Wolverine- Who although too tired to live, and not caring about much, because so much had been taken from him, he still fights as hard as he can.
And THAT is why I loved the Comic Book Series, and why I like this installment of the films. Because, in their own way, Marvel is pulling all of the best story arcs and sticking them into these movies.
And everything looks very good here, Hugh Jackman doesn't look much different than in the other films. This "Weakened Wolverine" was an interesting twist, allowed us to get to the dark aspects of the character.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off: Spoilers? Why bother? People don't read reviews for
recommendations, whether they should go see the film; they read them to
confirm that the movie was as bad as they perceived it.
Now, let me admit: I took the bait willingly, consciously, despite better knowledge or foreboding. Mea culpa, but why break a lifelong habit, even if it's a bad one? I paid my handful of dollars, stood in line with my fellow zombies (some which were muttering something along the lines, "boy, this is going to be worst then the first Wolverine-movie"), filed into those mortuary-halls called cinema and, well, pretty much waited for a miracle. You know what happens to people who wait for miracles? They'll get disappointed because miracles only happen to other people who they know only through hearsay, because miracles defy all logic.
But why would we expect more than the usual, well-worn out action-fare? Why expect scriptwriters to spend valuable time to compose a half-engaging script and fix the most obvious plot holes? Like I said: the suckers (like myself) come cheap and will swallow the bait nevertheless; it takes only the magic words "Wolverine", "Hugh Jackman" and "Sequel".
Obviously, this was meant (or rather marketed) as a deep study of the man-slash-mutant who is indestructible and (possibly) immortal. There was more depth and insight into the Wolverine-character in those scenes, where Wolverine and Rogue drive in Wolverines pick-up-truck in the first movie. The dream-sequences with Jean Grey, as pointless and tedious as they were there was more depth in Mystiques and Wolverines cameo-appearances in the First-Class-movies (and, forgive me the wordplay, "more class"). A movie where Wolverine looses his powers and spends a good deal of the time bleeding, hurting and whining, isn't that what we all rooted for? Like the last Highlander-film, where the immortals loose their immortality and that Future-Superman-film, when Superman will loose his powers through an overdose of kryptonite? And as for the "antagonist" Silver Samurai: Did we really expect that rather interesting character from the comics to make an appearance or did we fore-smell that it would be the obvious: A huge, Transformer-like robot made of Adamantium, with grandfather sitting inside? Don't get me started on the Viper-character; neither "actress" nor character is worth the electronic ink.
I could go on with a list of complaints, but feel that this has been covered by a good percentage of reviewers (and why even bother writing another review? Like I mentioned: I stick to my bad habits, which include writing reviews about the last X-Men-movie I saw). Let me just state one more observation: the haircut they gave Jackman was ridiculous and reminded me more of some old The Three Stooges clip.
Plus: one reason I have rooted for this film was Hiroyuki Sanada, whom I consider one of the finest actors that Japan has produced in recent years and given time and the right roles might one day become something like the Asian Christopher Lee. What on earth was I dreaming, thinking or smoking, believing for one second that his role or talent might not be utterly wasted? By the end of the film, I had convinced myself that I had come to the cinema for one sole reason: the after-credit-scene. Surely, Magneto and Dr. X would have a cameo in this scene. They did. Neither of them aged very well (but then again, who does?) Maybe Magneto will fix Wolverines horribly stumpy claws in the next movie, maybe they'll put a little more effort into the next X-Men-movie and allow the Wolverine-franchise to fade away.
Or maybe I'm just being naïve.
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