So. Here we are. Clearly it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, much less a movie review. So before I review the movie, let’s review how and why I review…
For starters, it’s not so much about the movie. I’m not a professional critic, so my thoughts usually aren’t as nuanced and cultured as someone who is. I’m just a guy who likes stories, and likes to think about them a little bit. I’m also a guy who, from time to time, gets into filming and editing videos of one sort or another. So I’ve started to pay attention to stuff like pacing, storytelling, editing, cinematography, etc.
So, to sum it up – these cannarf reviews are representative of how I see a movie.
- Logan is more human in this movie. Which is strange, I guess, since he’s a mutant. He’s more vulnerable both physically (due to another character’s juju) and emotionally (he has nightmares every night and wants to end his over-long, troubled life). For some, that really diminishes who Wolverine is supposed to be. But for me, it makes him even better. This Logan feels pain in a way that previous iterations haven’t. Heroes are only as interesting as their weaknesses, I guess…
- The cinematography is pretty cool. The action sequences felt more like a very well-made martial arts movie, and less like a big budget action franchise. Less polished, but in a good way.
- Speaking of which – awesome genre blending! Mutants, martial arts, organized crime, mystery… Good stuff.
- I’ve been pretty fascinated with Japanese culture since reading Michael Crichton’s Disclosure. I’m not saying I want to move to Japan or anything, but it’s a fairly fascinating culture. A little scary, but only because it’s so different in so many ways from our own culture.
- “I’ve never needed any of this before.” “What, help?” Great line.
- Famke Janssen.
- The movie starts with almost no context. Nagasaki in 1945, then ??? I had to check imdb.com in order to know that the events of this movie take place after the X-Men trilogy.
- I like movies that make you think and try to figure stuff out. But for a lot of The Wolverine, I felt like I was always missing one small piece of information that would have made everything make so much more sense. For instance, who is the blonde woman? Who is the Hawkeye wannabe helping Logan? Why is that guy helping the blonde lady now? Why did it seem like the Mariko was shady and wanted to get away from Logan, but then in the next scene they’re travelling buddies?
- Wait, that guy can somehow survive the blonde lady’s poison (not to mention getting stabbed in the neck with a fountain pen), and come back stronger and faster than before?
- Logan is a born fighter, and also a smart cookie when it comes to staying alive and free. It’s ridiculous that he would just run down the middle of the street letting himself get shot in the back repeatedly with arrows.
- Wow, a well thought-out superhero movie with heart and depth and humanity and an at least moderately believable storyli… Oh wait, there’s a giant robot samurai monster with a flaming sword, and that lady survived an arrow to the heart and is now pulling her skin off. Nevermind…
The Bottom Line:
The Wolverine is not your usual superhero movie, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. In fact, elements like the way the action sequences are filmed, as well as the vulnerable nature of the protagonist, make The Wolverine really stand out in comparison to other superhero flicks.
Until the end.Then it just kinda goes off the rails. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie. It just felt a little like a bait-and-switch, you know?
I didn’t come into The Wolverine with any real expectations other than for it to be a pretty entertaining superhero movie. It turned out to be not quite that, but in a (mostly) good way. All this adds up to…
Edit: My good friend Jason correctly pointed out that there were a couple of “off the rails” elements earlier in the film, in particular the fight on top of the bullet train in the middle of the film. That fight was ridiculous.