Monday, August 19, 2013

We don't all have claws.

If I asked you to name the comic book character most faithfully realized on the big screen, who would you choose? It's Batman, right? Likely followed by Superman or Spider-Man, I'd think. And while I feel each of those characters have kicked all kinds of cinematic ass, I'm throwing them all out on a technicality, as only a super nerd (who um, doesn't read comic books) would dare. Each of them has been played by more than one person, muddying the waters. With my newly instituted/highly arbitrary criteria, we're down to two: Iron Man and Wolverine. While I'd go to bat for Robert Downey, Jr. anytime, when I think about, there can be only one.

Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for almost fifteen years. Ridiculous. And throughout that span, Jackman has dusted off the CG claws again and again and held down major roles in four films, and even had a kickass cameo in a fifth. His latest entry, and certainly not his last, is The Wolverine.

I'll tell you up front, I've never seen X Men Origins: Wolverine. I heard that it basically sucked and have somehow managed to never catch it on FX, where it's seemingly on twice a day. That said, I had every intention of watching it prior to seeing the latest Wolverine flick, but it wasn't in the cards. And being that my wife was due the day after this one released, I honestly thought I'd never see this one either.

Clearly, I ended up catching this, and perhaps less obvious, I'm glad I did. Even if, overall, the film lacks action, I firmly believe you simply can't go wrong with Jackman. Watching him growl each line, occasionally stab a bad guy in the neck, and generally skulk around like an aging gunslinger, the guy is Wolverine. Even in a medicore-at best summer action flick.

Thinly-veiled creepy love letter to Jackman complete, let's talk plot. The Wolverine delves into Logan's role at a pivotal moment in World War II. Turns out, ol' Wolvie was a prisoner of war as the bomb was being dropped in Nagasaki. In the final moments, Wolverine saves the life of a young Japanese soldier by shielding him from the atomic blast. Years later, on his deathbed, that same soldier summons Wolverine back to Japan and offers him something he's been desiring for a lifetime: mortality. All is definitely not what it seems, however, and Logan finds himself embroiled in a power struggle among members of an elite Japanese family. Cue the occasional action sequence in the Land of the Rising Sun.

One advantage of being the only person in the theater? Screen grabs.

  • Japanese Honor. Is it just me, or is there something inherently cool about seeing stoic Japanese guys fall on their swords? Just me, huh?
  • That grizzly bear was so awesome. As was the ass-kicking Logan dished out in support of it.
  • The unnecessary flip count? It's only moderately high.
  • My new favorite word? Whatever separator is in Japanese.
  • Tao Okamoto, playing the part of the conflicted Mariko, is all kinds of hot. 
  • Man, Famke Janssen is still so hot. She'll be fifty next year. 50.
  • Vet Student Guy. A good dude if there ever was one.
  • I don't care what you say, but Wolverine's claws are by far the best f--king superpower ever. Seriously. Even in a bloodless, PG-13 movie it's still overwhelmingly cool to see Wolvie stab six claws through a wall into someone. Especially their necks.
  • Speaking of, let's give it up for I'll never talk Guy. Guess what you get for your loyal silence, my man? Claws in yo' face, son! 
  • Bullet train Battle. Holy shit, this was inspired. I could probably watch that scene a million times.
  • And finally, Hugh Jackman. Clearly, I'm a fan of the guy, but this movie took it to another level, albiet, a slightly/majorly creepy one There's a scene where Wolverine has to cut up a fallen tree, and I swear for its entire duration I was the gayest man on the planet. Damn, Hugh, Just...damn.
We're pretty much twins. I mean, I have a beard.
  • Yukio. I actually feel bad for her. First, she's Mariko's friend only via kidnapping. And second, she reminds me of Peggy from a misguided Japanese version of Mad Men
  • Roof Protector Guy. What the shit, man? You might want to shoot somebody with an arrow, um, today.
  • More pressing, though, is the main villain, Viper. I'm always down for some tongue, but this chick simply didn't do it for me. Though apparently, she's not really into dudes anyway. She claims that she's immune to man. 
  • And the award for Best Batman Voice goes to...everyone in this movie. Really. It was a twenty-seven way tie for first.
  • So, for a good portion of the movie, our two leads are hiding. They go to some random town and check into a Love Hotel. First problem? Somehow, this works? Um, I don't think so. She's 9 feet tall and gorgeous. He looks like Hugh Jackman. In Japan. They might stand out. A bit. But worse? The second problem. They don't get it on.
  • What was with that bath scene? It was very weird. I half expected a beautiful woman to surface and utter the royal penis is clean, your highness. In Japanese, of course.
  • You're a shady Japanese guy and you decide to party with some whores. Sounds like a Yay. But, then you have them parade around your high-rise in their clothes and it's a Boo. A big one.
  • Wait a second. These ninja guys who shoot 900 arrows into Wolverine? They've been protecting this village for 700 years. Impressive. So, no one should be able to get in undetected, right? Not even say...a reheaded Japanese woman, right? Oooh, about that.
  • And finally, the Final Showdown. Sure, it was kind of cool in a superficial way...but as a final boss battle? Weak, dude. Weak. And if what happened to Wolverine was supposed to shock and resonate, it didn't. I did like how Viper got the shaft, though.

Due to school starting, and my own adamantium-clawed newborn dominating what's left of my time, I've been working on this post for almost two weeks. You'd think that spending so much time on one thing would  surely guarantee its greatness. But looking back at this post, as well as the Wolverine flicks, maybe that's not the case after all.

Just don't blame Jackman. 


  1. Good review M. I liked this flick more than I expected to, mainly because it was fun, but a very emotional story as well. Not emotional in the way that I was crying my eyes out by the time it was over, but I was compelled and interested, even when the action wasn't happening.

    1. As usual, I'm with you Dan. There wasn't a lot of action, but for whatever reason, I kind of gave a shit about the story. And honestly, I didn't see that coming.

  2. Nice write up, have not had a chance to see this yet but look forward to checking it out at some point.
    Rorschach would get my vote for comic character most faithfully realized.

    1. Thanks. It probably isn't that good at all, but for a teacher/father of two...there's nothing like watching a movie in the theater. Alone.

      Rorschach, though I've only thumbed through the graphic novel, is an excellent call. JEH was incredible.

  3. here is the chain of events:

    1. I actually have work to do but fuck it, it's Wednesday
    2. I opened review index here(impressive! Im down to like 5 reviews a year)
    3. "Which Hugh movies m.brown reviewed and hopefully he had nice things to say"

    So..first of all going by that index i am gonna assume you have not seen The Fountain and The Prestige which are legitimately amazing

    But worse for us, the readers, is there are no reviews for trash fires like Australia, Les Mis, Chappie, Van Helsing and of course the one to rule them all Prisoners. Though it seems me and Andrew are the only ones who hate this one.

    So get on those!

    "Thinly-veiled creepy love letter to Jackman complete" - then what the hell are last and next RFs ? Nope. Dont answer that.

    I saw this one for the first time last week and quite enjoyed it. There is actually a "review" of it in RF. If me ranting about his mighty penis not being on the screen can be called one

    Dude. The tree cutting scene. I actually giggled. And every single scene in Logan is like 10x this hot.

    That love hotel scene was some bullshit. I'd jump on his face as soon as we crossed the door and that bitch went to bed. Unbelievable

    1. 1. Yes! I'm starting to think, f--k it, it's Monday. Wednesday? That's like Friday morning at this point.
      2. Thank you. Though it's not really about the size, right? Right? *crickets*
      3. I love should be no worries. (I have owned Australia for years...can't bring myself to watch it....or find it?)

      The Prestige I loved...just saw it before I started this shitshow. You found The Fountain....back when this shitshow was a shitshow.

      My son has begged me to let him see Chappie...which I will not cave in to. But...I'm interested. All I remember from the trailer is a robot and a bad haircut? Is there anything else?

      Prisoners!!! Too long...but I'm interested. Very interested. And trust me, I recall your hatred for it. Quite funny, if I remember correctly.

      As for this one...

      What the Hell are the most recent RFs? Uh, I'm gonna go with 'exhibit A and B'.

      Uh, penis rants are totally reviews. At least, I think so. I feel like I almost wrote one here. Goodness.

      Jump on his face? His face? That's one way to avoid his claws.

    2. I'm gonna tackle Australia soon, again. There's an impressive shirtless scene there and well, if I sat through Van Helsing and Chappie how bad can it be? Well, bad but there is at least some romance action in this one

      Chappie is definitely not for a kid. Watching that robot get abused and beaten was like watching pet abuse, it was awful. It did have nice ideas but there was so much of legitimately horrendous stuff in it. I'm gonna write a bit about that in next RF

      Not only is that fucking thing 2,5h long but Hugh has not taken his shirt off once during this time. I did rewatch it last week and trash it again in next RF. But as a parent with a normal non crazy life I think you'd like that movie. I think Jackman's role there is 'look at me being serious, nominate me' but so many people love this performance. Gyllenhaal on the other hand is really incredible.

      Well yeah so far there is like 1 whole RF and half of second to last RF for Hugh...but what's coming in 2 days...will cause the Apocalypse, probably.

      Sir, if he impaled me on those I'd die honored.