The Wolverine

Huge JackedMan in: The Wolverine
"The hero. The fugitive. The warrior. The survivor. The legend."

Hey everyone, welcome to another review from The Tagline! I know I promised another round of bitter fury today, but I decided that I would save some of my vitriol for next week, just to give my hate batteries time to recharge (I run on hate batteries, they are eco-friendly). With that in mind, and heeding the generous 66% RT was offering for it, I went to see The Wolverine, the second film based solely on the eponymous Wolverine, and the 5th film in a single X-Men continuity (this becomes clear as the movie continues, and is one of the more startling aspects of the movie, more on that later). It follows Logan (Hugh Jackman, with his trendy Wolverine hair) as he attempts to cope with the aftermath of the events that took place in X3 (and I mean who can blame him, I wanted to become an alcoholic hermit in the woods too after that movie). In particular he experiences what seem to be vivid hallucinations of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) due to his guilt over killing her (SPOILERS OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE, seriously though X3 was a waking nightmare). While visiting town so he can stab some guys in the hand for illegal bear hunting practices, Logan encounters a Japanese Ninja Punk Girl who informs him that a guy he saved from being nuclear exploded in WWII wants to see him. In Japan. Obviously. Of course, the man's intentions are... less than honorable.

Meet Yukio, She beats people up with a sword.
What follows, as you might expect, involves a lot of Yakuza and ninjas getting carved up by Wolverine in cool fight scenes. When I say cool fight scenes, I really mean that too. The fight choreography in this movie is flashy and fun to watch, and there are a few action sequences that, while improbable, are really harrowing to watch and generally pretty cool. I had a beef with some of the shaky camerawork while fights were happening, but otherwise I was really enthusiastic. Cool flips and lots of jumping around might not be practical, but it's exciting to watch, especially when it is kept short and interspersed with plot points, rather than just being long drawn out big set piece battle scenes, with little to no context (I know that might sound ridiculous, but certainly PLENTY OF MOVIES DO IT). Also, watching Wolverine fight samurai and ninjas is just plain cool.

Welcome to Japan Gambleland Funtime.
Supporting cast include Yukio (Rila Fukushima), the aforementioned NinjaGirl, Mariko, Logan's love interest/person everyone is trying to kill and her asshole dad, that badass samurai from The Last Samurai (Hiroyuki Sanada). Also there is a literal Viper woman in the movie (Svetlana Khodchenkova, she was in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) who uses her poison to weaken Wolverine, so that he can be hurt and not instantly heal (he still heals faster than a regular dude though). Also there is a ninja guy who is kind of cool at first, but then kind of a dick. To continue picking on Transformers 3, forever, I note that the females in this movie have actual personalities and character, and also pretty much all get a hand on some violent self-defense, instead of being ridiculous pin-ups with no purpose in the plot.

Also there is a giant adamantium samurai robot suit.
The thing that most impressed me about this movie though is that rather than being vague, or sidestepping completely the blasted ruin of a continuity left by X3, this movie owns up to its dark past, just like Logan does. Somehow, this movie manages to undo a lot of the damage I felt X3 did, restoring Wolverine as the deeply troubled, really violent, but essentially noble hero we all love to watch kill people brutally. It uses elements of that terrible movie to set up some of its own much better plot points, and for me changed disgust into a kind of awe. Parts of the movie (especially the teaser at the end after the credits) also set us up for the upcoming new X-Men movie (Days of Future Past, GETTING REALLY EXCITED) and has me really interested to see what happens next. I think I'm ready to be hopeful about X-Men movies again, and finally ready to forgive them for X3 and X-Men: Origins.

She doesn't seem like a good lady. Mostly because of the
snake poison thing.
The Wolverine is off to a really strong start, having come in 1st at the box office this weekend, and grossing over 55 million dollars domestically. That's a strong opener, and it is well deserved. As I asked before, Would anyone want to see a streamed MST3K episode to be determined on The Tagline? I'm considering hosting such a thing in the near fututre. Anyways I'll see you all next Tuesday, when I finally express my distaste for Cloverfield.

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