Just Watched: The Wolverine

What do I think of the plot and treatment?

You’d expect the plot of a movie such as this to be simple – and it was. Logan, who has withdrawn from the world in general, was persuaded to go to Japan so he can say his goodbyes to an old friend. Of course, the death of said friend kicks off a series of problems that our dear hero can’t just leave behind (because Wolverine has a soft gooey middle, THAT’S WHY). His various battles with ninja, Yakuza, poison, and his own mind eventually leads him to rediscover meaning in his kind-of-immortal life. Also, he gets to tap a really hot Japanese chick. Everybody wins! Except for the villains. Because they’re villains.

Like I said, it’s simple. But it’s also complicated because they loaded this movie with tons of details. And before you even say that you can always ignore those details, I’ll have to tell you that you CAN’T. You absolutely cannot do that because those little details they establish throughout the film have payoffs. If you’re like me, picking up on those little details and how they pay off can give you those little thrills that would have made up for the thrills you didn’t get from all the quieter moments of the movie–of which there are many. If you’re going into this film expecting non-stop action, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The action scenes are decent, but they effects aren’t as good as they could have been and the whole thing is balanced out by bits of exposition that (thankfully) help make sure that the story as a whole makes sense. In other words, this movie needs you to use your brain a little; I think that’s a good thing.

Wolverine (comics)
Just because he’s a killing machine doesn’t mean he has no feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, some the narrative decisions they made could be considered a little confusing by viewers. SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED. And you’re also faced with lots of characters with at least TWO villainous factions to deal with – which can be really annoying if you want a straightforward story. Thankfully, you can actually see who the REAL big bad is even before you hit the halfway point of the movie–if you haven’t already figured it out from the trailer. Still, you have to deal with villains whose only point there seems to be to complicate matters and drive Mariko into Logan’s hairy arms. Not that I begrudge the lady, I mean who could resist that behind? (I have to point out that said behind was shown in a bathing scene earlier in the movie to totally justify Mariko’s decision to take that sexy beast and make him her own)

Still here? Good. It’s nice to see that I haven’t scared you…yet.

Speaking of Mariko, she bears some significance in the context of healing Wolverine’s psyche.

If you remember, the last thing that happened to him was that he had to endure the death of Jean Grey (who he was really REALLY into) and the dissolution of the X-Men. If that kind of thing doesn’t fuck you up like heck, I don’t know what would (hooray for realism and character verisimilitude!). And it probably doesn’t help that he has functional immortality, which means he can’t just end his misery then and there. Just to further illustrate the point, they have a negligee-clad Jean cuddling up to him in his dreams. Seriously. Those scenes remind me of Gaius Baltar and Caprica Six from Battlestar Galactica (yes, I’m only watching it now), except I can’t help but feel that it’s a little less effective in making us believe that Logan is guilt-ridden. If anything, it made me feel like he’s a very sad pervert.

Famke Janssen as Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last ...
I think it would have been better if she looked more like this. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My misgivings about the Jean Grey thing aside, it was made clear just how very broken Wolverine felt over the loss of the X-Men. You can’t not deal with that, not when you want him to show up in more X-Men movies. Mariko–who is, incidentally, his wife in the comics BEFORE his adventures with Xavier’s gang–serves as an emotional and psychological salve. In trying to protect her, Logan reconnects with who he is (at least in this universe)–a loyal, if slightly grumpy protector. Thus, she helps him move forward*–so he can kick ass in Day of Future Past.

Seriously, Days of Future Past will not work if they didn’t deal with his psychological issues in this movie.

So yeah, solid movie. But I’m willing to admit that the Easter Egg got me more excited than the film itself.

*It may be just me, but I found it cute that we first meet Logan in X-Men when he becomes a pseudo guardian/father figure to a young Rogue and this movie kind of ends with him jetsetting with a tiny girl (with red-dyed hair!) named Yukio. If that doesn’t scream “new beginnings” for this character, I’m not sure what does.

What do you think?

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