SW Prequels Defender
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Athens, Greece
Re: Let The Claws Do The Talking - Rate & Review "The Wolverine"
Ok, so... where to begin... I think I'll just go with the MoS structure.
Direction: Magold is a master at what he does. And that's creating tension and having it followed by relaxed, real character moments. And this movie is full of that, up until the climax. Even though the climax requires OTT action, I'd say he holds hiw own pretty well. But he gets to do quite a few Mangold-isms, which is a good thing, the guy always has been a hell of a director.
Story: Really strong one, I must say. This is a deconstruction, much more than what IM3 claims to be. They share some similarities (2012-13 are the years of fall-rise, it seems), but TW actually bothers to deal with them. And the fact that they set it in Japan, other than paying tribute to the Wolverine comics, drives the point home.
Screenplay: Very very good. Aside from a couple misplaced one-liners, the dialogues work, they develop most of the characters and, even though you might foresee a couple twists coming, it's tight and it serves the narrative. Humor's great, too. Hugh helps in that respect, but the jokes are mostly well-placed, not OTT and actually add to the character development. That was refreshing!
Characters: Well, I felt Shingen was a bit wasted, but that's mainly because of my preconceptions of the actor that was playing him. Yukio was a show-stealer. Viper wasn't as annoying as I thought she would be. She was certainly out of place compared to the rest, though. Mariko was one of the best love interests in a CBM. Yashida was one of the better villains this and every year. I actually liked Harada's purpose and function in the movie. Jean was a welcome addition as Logan's guilt incarnate (and nothing more, this isn't Jean's ghost, people) and is basically the driving force of the movie. And Wolverine... well... I don't want to say much, but this WAS Wolverine. Finally. They got him right. The cussing (even if it's light), the ferocity, the demeanor, the attitude, the physicality. I'm glad. GLAD.
Themes: It's a story about generations, about selfishness and selflessness, about ninjas and samurais, about letting go of the past and the pain, about what REALLY makes a person what he/she is. You'll notice some similarities to TDKR and it deals with some of them in a (imo) more satisfying way than that movie. Not all of them hit home, though, hence my not perfect scoring of TW.
Performances: Ah, Hugh, Hugh, Hugh. You ARE the Wolverine, height be damned. This isn't a case of Keaton or RDJ, this is a guy who loves the character and tries to give and give and give in every movie he stars as Logan. He reinvents himself and his performance. Honestly, I didn't find any weak performance in the film, considering what everyone had to do in it. Even Svetlana as Viper was appropriate and was wisely and visibly toned down by Mangold to fit the movie.
Cinematography: Other than the fact that it's digital, it's a beautiful movie. I can't help but imagine how much more beautiful it would've been had it been shot in film. Still, it captures Japan really well.
Music: Show-stealer. Marco's come a long way since his Scream days. Reflective, esoteric, with action cues that belong to an action thriller. This movie has the definitive Wolverine theme for me. And it's not "heroic". It's hopeful, with an underlying sense of tragedy. A very fresh addition to the franchise. One of the best parts of the movie for me.
Action: Look, kids, you can see what's going on in this movie! And the action works, wait for it... because yiou care for the damn characters, too! But seriously, the set pieces are quite good and it was refreshing to see more personal and toned down battles, as opposed to grander and more epic. Those are my favorite kind, anyway, so it's all good. Although, the ninja "fight" was cut down as hell. I'm sure the Extended Edition will do it justice, though. The trailers tease something far bigger than we got.
CGI: Stellar, for the most part. The opening scene is haunting.
Editing: Solid. More than solid. It serves the story and does justice to performances. The movie breathes where it has to and has tension where it needs it. Edited like a thriller rather than a CBM movie.
Overall: I love it. It doesn't have peaks or moments that make you go "HOLY ****, WHAT DID I JUST WITNESS, RAPEMENOWOMG!", but it was balanced, it developed its characters well, it had a believable and sweet romance, it drove most its points home, it was respectful to the characters and the audience, it had its fair share of action. Even the climax wasn't as OTT as I feared, because it was in line with the rest of the movie, thematically and character-wise. Same goes for Viper. I can see Poison Ivy comparisons, but only conceptually. Otherwise, not even damn close. I, uh... this is a special movie to me now.
As for the mid credit scene? It was like loving chocolate, and getting a cake you thought only has chocolate icing, only to discover it's full of chocolate! It's cemented X-DoFP as my most anticipated movie next year AND it made me care because of the entire character arc for Logan in TW. Where this movie leaves him... he's ready to be what X-DoFP needs him to be. And it was very nice to hear his TW theme play over that scene, where he gets to interact with X and Magneto. It was beautiful and helps connect the movies. Beautiful.
A SOLID 8/10 (will watch a 2nd time just to let this all sink more in me)