I haven't blogged since April and there's been many a thing that I have desired to blog about... Controversial reviews of Marvel's latest, "The Wolverine" movie have inspired me to break my silence.
My good friend Dave is a member of the talking heads of "Hey Let's Talk About This" ( https://www.facebook.com/HeyLetsTalkAboutThis ) a podcast about all things movie/game/tech etc that I tune in to on Saturday Nights when time affords. He said that tonight there would be a heated discussion about the film, and since I will be entertaining friends at my place & will be unable to chime in, I figured I'd give em my 2 cents ahead of time.
As an English Teacher, I will first prove my expertise on the subject of "Wolverine." As an expert, my opinion then holds more sway...hopefully.
It's like the beginning of the summer when I told my cousin that I really enjoyed "World War Z." He told me that it was a good movie, but as a zombie flick it wasn't that great. Now I'm not a huge zombie buff (I want to watch the walking dead but my wife gets queezy way too easily) so I have to appreciate that he's seen EVERY zombie movie ever made (not joking) and he's probably right. I still enjoyed the film, but didn't realize that it was lacking.
So let me first give me credentials:
Exhibit A: Wolverine #109, my letter to the editor printed in the back...so I've been IN a Wolverine Comic...many of the films critics haven't even been IN a comic book shop.
Exhibit B: My trade paper back copy of the Wolverine mini series purchased on January 17th 1994. How do I remember that date? Well it was a Monday...there was no school...Los Angeles suffered a devastating earthquake, and I went to Media Play in Orem where I purchased this trade paper back...as well as my first album ever...Ace of Base' "The Sign."
I could go on and on and take pictures of the hundreds of Wolverine comics I own. I could show you my son's birth certificate (Middle name Logan)...but the guys at "https://www.facebook.com/HeyLetsTalkAboutThis" probably want to get to the meat of this review.
The X-men comic books, when focusing on the team, would highlight certain characters for a few issues at a time. Maybe Cyclops would have a 3-4 issue story arc where he does something amazing...though not likely...he's a tool. Wolverine would get his highlights here or there, but Marvel knew that he had more story to tell since his past was so mysterious and what not. So Marvel let us explore Wolverine by bouncing between 2-3 story lines. The first being: Weapon X. The second being: Japan. The fact that the movie was set almost entirely in Japan was so refreshing for me.
When was the last time a Superhero movie came out where a major city wasn't in danger? Whether it's the Avengers stopping Aliens, Superman stopping...Aliens, or Spiderman stopping...lizards, or batman running around with a nuke, comic book movies almost always focus on the SAVE THE WORLD mentality.
Did this summer's Man of Steel have better action than The Wolverine? Well it certainly had MORE of it. It was pretty epic. But tell me, did anybody within the sound of my voice care at ALL about Superman or Lois Lane in the end? Were you even aware that Lois was a character? This is where the strength of the Wolverine comes in. This movie did was the "Wolverine Origins" movie could not do in 2009, it explored Wolverine's character in an effective way. By the end, we cared about his journey.
I loved the flash backs/ dream sequences with Jean Grey. Logan's dealing with ghosts of his past helped bring depth to a character who is usually more animal than man. Many movie goers (the nay sayers) probably just wanted Wolverine to scream and slash people up the whole time. I get that, it would be fun...like Man of Steel was fun...but it'd all just be eye candy.
The direction in this film was great. The locations were awesome, and the almost entirely Japanese cast made everything so authentic that I felt like I was watching a foreign film.
Now the mini series doesn't go into the whole CGI Silver Samurai realm. As a comic book fan does it bother me that they strayed from the comic a bit? Not really. If they stuck to the comic book every time then they would have been fighting Dark Phoenix on the moon in X-men last stand. It doesn't always work.
Most reviewers said the same thing: The first 3/4 of the movie were great, but the last 1/4 relied on the CGI big scenes. I agree, I probably would have liked something a little less "robotic" at the end. However, the rest of the film was so good that it doesn't bother me. It's like the, "I can forgive Jar Jar's presence because I know that Darth Maul eventually shows up and is so cool that it overshadows any shortcomings...though just barely"
One thing that REALLY bugged me...unless they fix it in the first 5 minutes of next year's "X-men Days of the Future Past"... was the loss of Wolverine's adamantium claws. Given the fact that they are supposed to be fighting HUGE METAL SENTINELS in the next X-installment....they best fix him up and fix him fast. I collected comics from 5th grade until 10th grade. Sometime in 1993 they decided it'd be a good idea to take away Wolverine's adamantium, care of Mangeto, and then not give it back for like 5 years.
Overall if I was going to give this movie a ranking, I'd give it an A- simply because of the CGI cop out ending and the ADAMANTIUM ISSUE! To overlook the rest of the movie would be a crime. Hugh Jackman was more Wolverine-ish than ever before. If you know the comics? You loved the movie. If you want a summer action packed blockbuster? You probably didn't get what you were coming for. Just know that this was a quality piece of work from this Wolverine specialist's point of view.
Go see the movie!
And tune in to Hey let's Talk About This" https://www.facebook.com/HeyLetsTalkAboutThis on Saturday nights-
P.S. I'm also overlooking the CGI bear.....that....like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull....never happened