Director James Mangold (Walk the Line & 3:10 To Yuma) in tandem with Writers Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard and Total Recall) and Scott Frank (Out of Sight and Minority Report) could very well have put together the template for future comic book movie releases, in the recent release of The Wolverine.
Everyone has their own opinion of the film and here’s mine. Of the comic book movies this year, like Man of Steel and Iron Man 3, each of these followed the standard, ‘comic book business as usual’ game plan, with the massive destruction of property, diety-like abilities and so much wall-to-wall action your head would spin off. Disclaimer time – NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! But what The Wolverine brought to the table was a different way to tell the typical comic book hero tale, with a more even-paced story, filled with human emotion, love, anger, and a sprinkle of mutant pizazz and high-tech wizardry. There were moments when watching the film that I didn’t fell like I was watching a Marvel production but some far-east-culture, infused-drama, starring Hugh Jackman. It was different, but it was good. And with the good, there was some bad, but with the bad, there was a bit of cool! Let me explain….
** Spoilers Ahead **
Subtle, even pace to the film.
There is no cataclysmic leveling of buildings or cities, or any such destruction on a grand scale as we have grown accustomed to when watching super heroes and villains duke it out. I’m already wondering how many times Metropolis will get leveled before they chase Superman out of town? Don’t get me wrong, The film had its spurts of action, with Logan (a.k.a. The Wolverine), going toe-to-toe with Ninjas and martial arts-trained Yakuza, but it had an equal amount of love, anger, sadness and regret to make you think you had stumbled into some Golden Globe-nominated drama.
Like Iron Man 3, with Tony Stark out on the run, using only his smarts and ingenuity to work his way back into the fray, So too was The Wolverine. What makes Wolverine’s stories so intriguing and interesting is that fact that aside from his mutant healing ability (also giving him immortality) and his Adamantium claws, Logan (a.k.a. The Wolverine), is essentially a human being. He’s not knocking enemies through buildings or hurling them into the sky. Skilled ninjas and Japanese swordmen at times seemed to get the upper hand at times when battling The Wolverine, and this is what makes his story so much easier to relate to? He wrestles with anger issues, bouts of regret and sadness, revenge and love, just like any of us. Something you don’t see as much of in say The Man of Steel.
The Silver Samurai Returns
Like all classics, sometimes you have to bring them current. The Silver Samurai, one of Wolverines classic arch-villains, once again dons his metallic armor to do battle against the Wolverine, however this go-round, The Silver Samurai is essentially a high-powered combat suit (similar to something you may see in an Iron Man film), made entirely of adamantium and deadlier than anything you see throughout the film. It comes off as very Iron-man-ish, but still very cool.
The Bodyguard – Yukio
Yukio, who ends up befriending the Wolverine and fighting alongside him throughout the film is not only a bad ass but helps us to ground us with the fact that the wolverine is not your typical invincible and all-powerful mutant. That he can use a helping hand and also, surprisingly ‘play well with others’. Watching Yukio, and others come to the aid of The Wolverine during some of the more intense fighting segments gave the movie a more human element and one in which I think helped ground audiences (especially some of the mainstream viewers – not comic book movie fans).
No Adamantium Claws? WTH?!
Not much to say about this other than during his bout with the Silver Samurai, Wolverine loses his coveted adamantium claws and is left with the use of his home-grown, boney claws. Suck, suck, suck! I hope the story doesn’t end up sticking with this situation for long. The adamantium claws were freakin’ cool!
Losses Regenerative Ability and Immortality
This central theme to the film was kind’ve a put-off, with Logan still reeling from his part in the demise of Jean Grey and having nightmares every night, and questioning himself on whether immortality really is all that its cut out to be. At some point in the film, he loses his regenerative ability. You don’t know it when watching but eventually he gets it back. But for a good portion of the film you see a ‘mortal’ Wolverine. Gunshots, sword and arrow wounds all make for an interesting portion of the film. It’s at one time cool to see a now vulnerable Wolverine trying to due battle with deadly ninjas and sucky, when you start to come to the realization that this may be a permanent thing, which would of sucked majorly! Lucky for us, he gets his abilities back!
Dreaming of Jean Grey
The first time they showed Logan dreaming of Jean, it was fine. The second time it was like ‘okay’ we get it. The third and later times, it was starting to get on my nerve. He loved her and he had to take her down. I understand the struggle. We get it! But please, Let’s move on already!
The post credit scene was cool, awesome and cryptic all at once. In true Marvel fashion there is a bonus clip in the credits. Stay and watch. I won’t reveal the scene here (there are enough articles out on the Web already that describe this detail), but its cooler than past Marvel post-credit scenes. Its short, as they typically are, but does get you thinking ahead about the 2014 release of X-Men: Days of Future Past and what direction the story may be taking. Aside from that, you also get the opportunity to see two familiar, iconic faces that make next year’s release even more interesting!