8/11/2013

The Wolverine

Title: The Wolverine
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Mark Bomback
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiryuki Sanada, Svtelana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee

Haunted by his killing of the love of his life Jean Grey (Famke Jansen) in X-Men 3 (actually I am haunted by that movie, too, but mostly cause of how shitty it was), Logan, AKA Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), has become a recluse. He has nightmares and is "visited" by her in his dreams (my dreams
with Famke would be considerably more X-rated). He has sworn to give up his violent ways, but when a pretty Japanese girl (Rila Fukushima) asks him to come with her to Japan to say good-bye to a man he saved (in a prologue flashback), he agrees. The man is now and dying, and he wants to take Logan's healing power away form him. That will thus free Logan of his suffering and by adding it to himself, will cure him of ailment.

Logan refuses, but the dying old guy's blonde mutant assistant, the Viper (Svtelana Khodchenkova) takes his healing power away, anyway. In the meantime, the old man dies and soon the Yakuza set their eyes on the old man's beautiful granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamaoto). Logan finds himself protecting her and, of course, falling for her.

Let me begin by saying that this leaps and bounds over the mediocre and forgettable turd that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It's a direct sequel to the third X-Men, so yeah that movie really did happen. It sucked, and well we have to deal with that. That's fine though, cause the movie uses that tragic ending as a good way to add the depth of Logan. Wolverine is a great character, because he is so complex. His violent past and violent tendencies always weigh on him, and the movie knows how to do that right. Jackman is great as Wolvie, and so is the rest of the cast. Comic-book fans should know that Mariko is Logan's great love in the Far East. And, she is bought to exquisite beauty and life by Tao Okamoto, who is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen! Also a babe is Fukushima, and when she kicks ass, well, yum!!

Not as good is Khodchenkovan as the Viper. OK, actually that is unfair. She does what she can with the role, but my God is the character of the Viper shit on! Why call her the Viper if she won't be the sexy terrorist HUMAN villianess that she is in the comics?! Fuck you Hollywood!! You ruined another great comic-book character. God only knows if the Avengers will be able to use her in a future installment, now.

Also Hollywood seems to love stories where heroes lose their powers. Though unlike Superman 2 and Spider-Man 2, Wolverine doesn't give it up. It's taken from him. This actually adds nicely to the story cause it makes him vulnerable to attack. That adds to excitement of the action. And, said action scenes are fucking awesome! The movie moves at a nice clip, allowing for story but managing to get back to the ass kicking. There is as much violence as the PG-13 rating will allow these days by having it, mostly, off-screen. So, that there is some blood, and Wolvie kills lots of people, but it never goes into full blown R mode.

In the end this is a solid and very entertaining movie. I say it's the best live action superhero movie of the year, so far. Yes, it's better than either Man of Steel or Iron Man 3. And, by saying best live action, I mean to say that Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox DC animated movie is THE best superhero movie, overall, of the year. In comparison to the other X flicks, this one is the best one since the first two. And, yes that means that I think it is better than First Class. Those of you on the fence, should go see it. I'm sure you will get a kick out of it, and be sure to stick around the end credits for extra geeky coolness.

***1/2 out of ****

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