The Failed Experiment
Join Date: Jul 2013
Re: Let The Claws Do The Talking - Rate & Review "The Wolverine"
The more I think of it, the more I like The Wolverine. A lot. It's not how I envision the "perfect" Wolverine film, but that's virtually always the case with a CBM. It's just more noticeable for me because Logan's my favorite comic book character, so I have my own clear view of what "the" film would be.
Quieter and more intimate than other superhero fare, The Wolverine's small stakes feel much bigger in a well-constructed world populated with characters we actually care about. While the story doesn't wow in all departments (some twists aren't too twisty), it's quite sharp when it needs to be. Luckily, this film isn't about shocking the audience with a mind-bending twist (When Yashida tells Logan not to look so shocked, is this also directed at the audience?); it's about a broken man who struggles to find a reason to carry on. That's what's important, and most of the film is built around it. 8.5
X-Men / X-Men: First Class
X-Men: The Last Stand
[Origins doesn't exist]
I want to focus specifically on Logan himself:
This is perhaps Hugh's best Wolvie performance to date-- which is saying a lot. He's just so weathered and soulful. The attitude and rage aren't stronger because there's more of it (though that helps too); it's because it's all driven by something that feels genuine. His anger and frustration comes from a place of guilt, regret, and shame-- an aspect of the character I've always loved in the source material. At the start of the film, he'd made a vow never to hurt anyone-- soon after, he's about to straight-up kill a bunch of people. This is very important in showing Logan's contradictory nature and his man vs animal struggle. He might try to be decent, but he's not always successful. I feel like they've really done a great job depicting Logan as a haunted loner, something Origins completely failed to do.
I also enjoyed how they addressed his powers, which is AGAIN something Origins should have done. I've always been interested in the idea of being practically immortal and the toll it would take, and they did a pretty good job with it. Now, lots of people have complained about Wolvie being too powerful nowadays-- well, luckily, this movie addresses that too, by limiting his powers for much of the film, which adds an urgency that had been missing in other films. I love seeing Logan with his back against the wall instead of the "cool guys don't look at explosions" BS from Origins. While this is a Logan that is technically much weaker than before, he's easily more violent and ruthless, with his body count being quite high. Speaking of which, much of the action is the best of the franchise, because there's a certain gravity to it. It doesn't feel floaty or wire-y. It feels real, visceral, and pretty damn bloody for a PG13-rated movie. And that Shingen fight? Goddamn.
One thing I really want to address is how people perceive the Silver Samurai showdown. I agree that it's more generic and a bit sillier than what had come before, but I think people (maybe critics, mostly) are being way too hard on it. Personally, I don't think it takes too much away from came before it. Sure, there was more CG than before and bla bla bla, but it didn't suddenly become about saving a city or the world. It was still about characters we already knew and cared about. It might bring the film down a little, and I do think it should have been quite different, but does it really "ruin" it?
I just can't believe that people are being so hard on this while First Class, with all its cheese, gets an 88 on RT. Believe me, I like First Class, but it can be quite silly at times, and there are some noticeable issues. FC's villains (Mags isn't a villain, technically) are kinda one-dimensional. Take Shaw-- what the hell makes him redeemable in any way, or at least layered? Nothing. Emma Frost? Might as well have been a table-- would have gotten a better performance. People complain about Viper and her lack of motivation (as do I-- coulda done without her), but at least she had some personality. Again, Frost = table. FC is also filled with so much cheese. Most of the Mystique stuff was honestly quite poorly executed, IMO. Her and Beast's first scene together is kinda cringe-worthy, like when they both say "normal" at the same time. Hell, earlier on when she first sees Beast, the camera zooms in on her face in the most obnoxious way-- like, we get it, she likes him. A little subtlety might be nice. Lotsa camp.
I'm not trying to argue that FC is bad or anything (far from it), but the point is that I feel people are much more forgiving with its issues than with The Wolverine's. Also, in terms of comic book faithfulness, the edge obviously goes to TW, no question.
Really, there's so much more I could talk about. The tone, the style, etc. There's just so much -- good and bad -- but I'll leave it at this.