The Wolverine

I, like all right thinking people, loved X-Men. I liked X2 even better. And, I’ll admit it, I liked X-Men: The Last Stand, too. It was awesome. Sue me.

So, then they made X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I don’t remember it that well, but it was diverting and exciting and a little doofy. Certainly not on par with the quality of the previous three films.

Next came X-Men: First Class which I really liked. I had a few issues with their continuity with the rest of the series, but all in all, a great movie.

twSo, now I’ve seen The Wolverine, 20th Century Fox’s attempt to revive the Wolverine brand. I’ve gotta say, this is the least impressive X-Men movie yet. At least the Origins movie wasn’t quite this boring.

So, what’s good about The Wolverine? Well, the Wolverine. Jackman is awesome. I think sometimes we get so used to him being awesome that we forget. Rila Fukushima as Yukio is the only other character I really liked. She’s a mutant with some mean fighting skills and the power of prophecy. Thankfully, they didn’t overuse her ability. It’s very specific. She can see people’s deaths. The chemistry between her and Jackman is great.

Which is why I was so very annoyed when Logan got all goo-goo-eyed over Tao Okamoto’s Mariko, one of the blandest heroines I’ve seen in a movie since Pacific Rim. (Okay, that’s not a really long time, I admit.) I mean, she wasn’t Olga-Kurylenko-bad or anything, but really not charismatic in the least. I kept waiting to find out what Logan saw in her. Nope. Nothing. I guess a super-ripped, model-handsome guy who can protect you from, well, anything (and has a lovely singing voice, BTW) doesn’t meet that many pretty women.

Speaking of pretty women, there’s been a lot of nattering on the interwebs about how ridiculous Famke Jansen’s appearance in the film is, just eye candy for the fanboys. I don’t see it. Yes, she’s in ligerie, but it’s not like a Victoria’s Secret ad or anything. Just a little cleavage. And having Logan work through the emotional turmoil of having killed the woman he loves? I think it’s worth the time we spend on it in the movie. Jean is certainly more interesting to watch than Mariko.

There are a ridiculous number of bad guys in this movie, though not all working together, which is kind of cool. Sadly, it was complexity for complexity’s sake, rather than a rich, Tarantinoesque tale of intrigue. (Mild spoilers follow.)

There’s an old guy who wants immortality. There’s his son, who resents him. There’s that guy’s daughter’s boyfriend… and her other boyfriend. And a lizard lady whose every line of dialogue was looped. (I can only assume the actress’s Russian accent was so hideous they had to hire another actress to perform her lines.) I suspect if I carefully analyzed all the choices these characters made in the first 7/8ths of the film, before the actual point of all this is revealed, I could find logical inconsistencies, but I don’t really want to bother. Because of the boring.

Even some of the action was boring, believe it or not. There are a thousand tattooed yakuza thugs and hooded ninjas for Logan to fight, but much of that was by-the-numbers hack and slash stuff, with Logan doing his signature “I’m brutally killing this guy, but, deep down, I respect life” scream about seventy times. The one exception is the fight on the top of the bullet train. That was a lot of fun.

By the end, when Logan is fighting a giant mechanical samurai robot made of adamantium, I was really checking out. Though, I have to admit, what they did to Logan in that final sequence really surprised me. The character won’t ever look the same again. (Well, unless they fix him somehow for the next movie.)

Now, if you want to avoid the real spoilers, stop reading now.

The scene in the middle of the credits is the best part of the whole movie, as Wolverine is set upon in the middle of airport screening by… Magneto! And he’s working with… Professor X! Awesome!

But, even here, the lack of continuity is bugging me. Yes, I get that Charles had a brain dead twin brother into whom he poured his consciousness moments before Jean atomized his body, and so he has been resurrected looking identical… but why is Charles 2.0 in a wheelchair? I really doubt this vegetable twin was ever shot in the back with a bullet deflected by the magnetic power of his frenemy. And if the explanation is that the twin’s body had atrophied… well, his entire body would have atrophied, including his arms and neck. Or, if the idea is that Charles is so used to being paralyzed that his brain can’t make his legs work… well, then why was he always walking around in visions in the first two movies. Think about how much more amazed Logan would be if Charles not only wasn’t dead, but just walked right up to him. That’d be awesome!

In any case, can’t wait for Days of Future Past.

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