Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: The Wolverine [2013]

"Eternity can be a curse. A man can run out of things to live for"


Background:
Release Date: 25 July 2013 (Malaysia), 26 July 2013 (USA)
Directed By: James Mangold
Written By: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Ken Yamamura, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen
Duration: 126 minutes
In A Nutshell:
During the atomic bombing events of World War 2, Logan/Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) saved the life of a young Japanese soldier by name of Yamada (young version played by Ken Yamanura; old version played by Haruchiko Yamanouchi). Fast forward to the present day and Yamada is now head of a Japanese technology powerhouse and one of the richest men in the country. He sends his trusted employee and close family friend, Yukio (played by Rila Fukushima) to track down Logan and bring him to Japan. There, Yamada uses his technological expertise to offer a trade.... Logan's healing abilities transferred to him in exchange for the chance of  Logan being mortal. Logan turns the offer down and Yamada passes away soon after. But all is not over, as Logan is forced to protect Yamada's granddaughter, Mariko (played by Tao Okamoto) from the Yakuza, and surprisingly (not!) from Mariko's father, Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Yamada's doctor, known as The Viper (played by Svetlana Khodchevkova).



Thumbs Up:
+ Story and character development that is interesting enough to forgive the horrible X-Men Origins: Wolverine [2009]
+ A sneak attack by ninjas, samurai sword fights, fighting on top of a bullet-train, and a battle in the snow with the background of nature. All the best of Japan in a modern Hollywood flick right here!
+ The action/fight sequences are well done. There's thrills, suspense, and emotional connection - we actually care for the characters. Not easy to do in a superhero movie. That being said, see the "Thumbs Down" segment below.
+ A mid-credits scene. Finally they follow the steps of Marvel Studios (despite this being a Marvel character, the movie is produced by 20th Century Fox) of hyping future movies in the franchise. Love these scenes!
Thumbs Down:
- I mentioned above about how impressive the action sequences were. That doesn't apply to the climax fight scene. It just didn't carry the same level of excitement or emotional connection.
- Despite me enjoying this film, I couldn't help but feel it was about 10-15 minutes too long.
- The cliché long monologue by villains in a moment of near-triumph. And this happens TWICE!!
- An absence of any menacing or worthy villain to rival Marvel's most bad-ass superhero (that's Wolverine if it wasn't obvious already!). I don't even remember The Viper's real name. Was it Dr. No-one-gives-a-damn?
- No cameo by the Godfather of comic-book superheroes and King of Cameos - Stan Lee (full list of his cameos I made here).
- This one is specific to my cinema. There was a trailer for this movie right before the actual movie. This new marketing strategy totally worked. I was sitting in the cinema and mulling whether to refund my ticket and leave, but then that trailer came-out. My mood changed and I was extremely hyped that I decided to stay! Duh!



The Verdict Is In:
Superheroes and their inner-conflicts of wanting to be normal. They did it before in sequels with Superman 2 [1980] and Spider-Man 2 [2004]. The difference was the original movies in those franchises were already successful and well-loved, while here, there's probably only 34 people of the entire world population that enjoyed the first movie. Thankfully they succeeded in redeeming one of Marvel's most beloved characters (this is only my observation, but the majority of Marvel fans start out as a kid loving Spiderman, but as they grow older they gravitate more towards X-Men, specifically Wolverine). This is an entertaining enough film for us to move on from X-Men Origins: Wolverine [2009] and makes us looking forward towards X-Men: Days Of Future Past [2014]. Bring.... It.... On!!
Rating:
7.5 out of 10

18 comments:

  1. Hi Asrap! I'm still mulling this over as I saw this last Tuesday. Honestly, I'm disappointed with it overall. I mean it's got SO much promise, the Japanese setting, the personal story, etc. but I found it to be so boring. I don't think I'll be as generous as you in my rating. I almost wish they had cast Rinko from Pac Rim as his love interest! For sure she can actually act.

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    1. Haha... while I didn't felt it was boring, I do think it could have been shorter, as mentioned in my review. Overall I did enjoy it but maybe that's because I've always loved the character (that didn't stop me from hating the origin story though. LOL). You are right though, Rinko from Pacific Rim would have been great.

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  2. smlm duk tunggu aku bila ko nak update (aku budget ko tgk smlm LOL) ..nway..BEST KAN SCENE LAST tu..jarang la aku nak tepuk tangan dlm pawagam but this time I did..The Wolverine as a whole though was good enough...sbb nak compare ngan masyallah origins tu..sangat la banyak improvement..

    as for Viper..could have been better..the look ada..tapi x cukup aksi dari dia..dan Silver Samurai..itu aku kecewa sebenarnyer but xpalah..it's not really a big issue for me.

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    1. Nasib baik ko bagitau ada mid-credits scene... kalo tau mau melepas dah aku. Ko slalu tgk kat alamanda ke? bebila aku rasa nak ajak ko lepak la skali, sementara aku masih keje kat Putrajaya nih. Ko kat Cyber kan?

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    2. yup Cyber..aku kalau sorang mmg gi Alamanda..sbb dlm clique aku,aku sorang je sini..i know sad..boleh jer..update pm fb..kasik movie yg best

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    3. cun... aku pon baru je pas putus tunang, so xde teman tetap utk tgk wayang. There's no shame in going alone to see a movie. Bkn semua org movie geek cam cite. Don't let that stop you. Nnti aku pikir muvi best.

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  3. Nice review Asrap. I had a good time with this flick. Not because it was just fun, but because it had a story that it took time to develop. Something I haven't seen in a superhero flick in a long while.

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    1. That's exactly it... the story. I don't know if they got it from the comics, but I liked the story here, as well as Wolverine's character.

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  4. Looking forward to checking this one out at some point but not this weekend as we are seeing The Conjuring.

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    1. I'm planning to see The Conjuring sometime soon too. It hasn't open here yet. Heard nothing but great reviews about it.

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  5. Hehe... I'm one of the 34 people who enjoyed the first Wolverine movie & saw it twice in the cinemas.

    So, when I heard about how The Wolverine is much more superior than Origins, there was no way I would miss watching it!

    The biggest thumbs up is of course the story... It kept me guessing "What the hell is happening here? Who's trying to kill who? Who's kidnapping who?"... Though the trailer sort of spoiled it a bit because they showed the robotic bug stuck on Logan's heart. The experience would be better if the particular scene was kept secret until the movie.

    Next best thing about this movie is... JAPAN!!! Samurais, Ninjas, cute Asian girls! The scene where Harada did some parkour, ninja style, was awesome.

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    1. Haha... you're the first out of the 34 that I've met!!

      Agreed, I loved the story, characters, and the all those Japanese elements.

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  6. Well I almost watched this one last weekend. I don't really follow Wolverine, so when I saw it started playing in the cinema, I thought, 'Wait, wasn't there a movie about Wolverine already?'. I don't know if I'll catch this, but I'm looking forward to X-Men : Days of Future Past!

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    1. Judging from the final result of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, its ok you that you missed it :). But'll say there's a scene in this movie that'll get you even more excited for Days of Future Past!

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  7. Glad to be reading around the interwebs that this film is much better than the first installment. Not sure when I will get a chance to check this one out as we saw The Conjuring last weekend and I think we are going to see The Way Way Back this weekend.

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    1. It wasn't hard to be better than the first one :) ! I just saw The Conjuring and it was awesome! Trailer for The Way Way Back also suggests it'll be good so I'll say you guys are watching great movies!

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  8. I'll probably wait until it comes out on DVD, but I'm still excited for it. Jackman is incredible as Logan/Wolverine.

    Also, it has to be better than the first installment right haha?

    Nice review!

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    1. Sorry for the late reply... been sick.

      Hugh Jackman IS indeed Wolverine. Hard to imagine anyone else playing the character.

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