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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Wolverine

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the movies I own on some form of home media format.  This time out, we take a look at everyone's favourite mutant, The Wolverine.  This shows up in my notes at December 14, 2013.

The Wolverine Movie poster...the awesome one that looks like a Japanese print

As many a film historian will tell you, our current trend of superhero films at the box office all began with X-Men back in 2000.  13 years later, and that franchise is still going strong, and this past summer, we got its latest installment, The Wolverine

Wolverine is everybody's favourite mutant, and at this point, it's like Hugh Jackman's James Bond.  It's that one role that he'll probably be remembered for forever.  And I was very intrigued when the film came out this past summer, because it was based on Wolverine's time in Japan, which Jackman has long said is his favourite Wolverine storyline and the one tale he'd been dying to tell on the big screen.  Needless to say, this particular Wolverine film seemed to be a passion project for quite a few.

This is very unusual for a superhero film.  As compared to the other X-films, there's not a lot of mutants.  It's just Wolverine and about three others.  This winds up downplaying the superheroics a bit, and we get to focus on the characters a lot more.  It almost seems...smaller and more intimate as these things go.  But don't worry, the superheroics do come back into play at the climax where Wolverine has to do battle with a giant robotic Silver Samurai, but I do have to agree with some critics.  By the time that fight comes around, it almost seems out of place.

The plot:  we catch up with Logan.  He's living alone, a recluse, living off the land somewhere in the Yukon, and still mourning the fact that he had to kill his love Jean Gray in order to stop her from going all Dark Phoenix and destroying the world (see our last issue, X-Men: The Last Stand).  But Logan is soon tracked down by a woman named Yukio.  She's with the Yashida Corporation.  Many years ago, during World War II, Logan saved the young Yashida from the Bomb.  And now, with Yashida on death's door, he wants to thank Logan and say his farewells.  But, upon the passing of Yashida, Logan soon gets caught up in the intrigue between the Yashida Corporation and the Yakuza, and Logan finds himself protecting Mariko, Yashida's granddaughter, as they race across Japan, on the run from these various factions.  But, there are complications.  Our villains did something to Logan to suppress his healing factor, meaning he can now be injured and killed.  Can Logan once again become the Wolverine and save Mariko from dire forces?

Of course he can, because he's the best there is and what he does, and what he does isn't very nice.

I really don't know what to say about this one.  It's just a very good movie.  Jackman is Wolverine at this point, there's no denying it.  Yukio kind of becomes his sidekick during the film, so it's neat to see.  If anything, his relationship with Mariko seems a little too quick.  I wish they spent a little more time developing that a little bit.  Oh, and Famke Jansen puts in a nice extended cameo as the ghost of Jean Gray. 

Yeah.  Really don't know what more to say.  It's just really good.  Having spent a year in Japan, I do find the look of the film maddeningly familiar.  I watch scenes going, "Is that...that place?  Or...no?" 

But this is a very different superhero film.  Less superpowers, more characters.  It's almost like a conventional action film.  And it is very, very good. 

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