Tag Archives: X-Men

Stub Review: The Wolverine

photoThe Wolverine

He is the best at what he does…and thus far it hasn’t been used for a great solo film.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the last time we got a taste of a full fledged Wolverine adventure in our local cinemas…and it left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. If not for an amazing foul mouthed cameo in X-Men: First Class, it would have been the last time anyone would of thought about Hugh Jackman in his iconic role…but now we have Hugh back to his claws and a new director at the helm for the aptly titled, The Wolverine.

This movie is a Wolverine comic book come to life in the best way possible. Everything you wanted from a solo Wolverine adventure that didn’t get delivered in Origins, is given to you on a silver—err, how about adamantium platter?

????????????????????????????????Based off the comic book written and drawn by the team of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, the adventure of Wolverine in Japan was a comic book story that over the years has been regarded as a classic not only for the genre, but the character itself. There have been many Wolverine stories told over the decades he has been around, but his time in Japan rank up high amongst the most important and is treated as such in it’s adaptation to film. This isn’t just another run of the mill story, it has the level of importance to it. It might not be as earnest as a Nolan Batman film, but it keeps its self-leveled with the characters that surround our anti-hero.

So one thing you will notice about this tale of the man named Logan in Japan…is that besides Wolverine, Viper, and Jean Grey…all the other characters are truly of Asian origin. Some films would take this maybe this opportunity and warp the script to white wash some characters, but to the credit of James Mangold, he put this film in Japan and filmed it with a surrounding Asian cast. The three most important roles that were cast to almost comic-book perfection were Rila Fukushima as Yukio, which is a Miller trademark in its own, a lethal, but sexy Japanese woman with a sword, who serves as both Wolverines guide and “bodyguard” in the film. We then have Tao Okamoto as Mariko, the fabled long love of Wolverine’s heart in the comics and in the film, the one that helps bring him from the brink of his despair. And finally we Haruhiko Yamanouchi, who plays Ichiro, grandfather of Mariko and another silver armored character that has its roots in the Wolverine lore.

??????????????????????????????????If you watched any trailer for this film, the plot is seemingly easy to get behind. Wolverine is about 10 years removed from the events of X3: The Last Stand. He is constantly having nightmares about Jean Grey, and wishing for death to finally ring his door bell. He is found by Yukio and brought to Japan, where from there the tale of how Wolverine deals with a suppressed healing factor amongst a land of killers is brought to life. Watching Wolverine not just wave off an attack, but seriously have to deal with long lasting pain is something new to the character on film. From his first solo film, to all the X-Men movies, Wolverine has taken a beating, but then easily come right back to fight. Here, we watch as Logan has to deal with the last effects of a gun shot wound and how badly that can slow me him and alter his fighting style.

The Wolverine is the movie not X-Men fans have been wanting, but what Wolverine fans have been hoping for after the utter disappointment all around in Origins. I don’t think it’s the perfect film, but it’s the right film for this character. There was no need to add in extra X-Men characters that have no use in Wolverines life to this feel, they made this big budget film seem small and large at the same time. Taking cue from classic Samurai films of the past and designing a beautiful film where the blood of his enemies can be seen in the snowy white landscape of Japan.

WolverineMangold has gone on record to proclaim when this film hits blu-ray it will be a much bloodier unrated version of the film we get in theaters, which is both understandable and smart. The talk of a R-Rated Wolverine movie has been discussed often, but the character is TOO popular to be tagged with an R and have some of its box office taken away, the PG-13 version we get is just violent and berserker enough to satisfy any fan and I’m sure the blu-ray release will be enough to satisfy the even more bloodlusting fans.

Like any Marvel film, be it Marvel studios or any other studios, there is a nice mid-credit tag after the film. Wont ruin it, but lets say, this Wolverine still has ties with his old team and there is a reason we will see Hugh Jackman pop those claws in next years ­X-Men: Days of Future Past.

I give it an EIGHT out of a TEN, on the scale of film merit and overall quality.

But I also give it a SKNIT out of TEN, on the scale of the slicing and dicing of ninjas. This movie was actually really fun watch and worth the price.

Top Ten…Movie Trilogies!

Top Ten…Movie Trilogies!

*If there is one thing I love more than talking about movies, its making lists ABOUT movies…or anything in general. No greater good in this world (bar my g/f) gives me more pleasure than an awesome top ten list.

 

I’ll get it out in the opening here…Lord of the Rings is not on this list. It’s not because it’s not a good movie or well acted or great looking, its because I haven’t seen any of the films past the first one, which I fell asleep during…TWICE. So no dice on the hobbits. The only other rule is that no film series can have a sequel to it and still be a trilogy on this list, so that means no Indiana Jones or Scream.

10) Chris Nolan’s Batman Trilogy                                                                 (Batman Begins –Rating: 85% The Dark Knight –Rating: 94% The Dark Knight Rises –Rating: ???)

Alright…so I am starting my trilogy top ten list with a trilogy that hasn’t even been completed yet. Alright, but it’s my list, so go fuck yourself. It’s Batman, I dare you to go and tell Batman his films don’t belong on top trilogy list and see if he doesn’t hold you off a building and make you pray to him. The only reason it’s number 10 is because only two films have come out, but they both are amazing films and it’s REALLY hard to imagine that Nolan will fuck it up with a horrible third outing, especially with the key players they have in place with Bane, Catwoman and Ra’s Al Ghul returning. Two amazing films that are both completely different from each other, the amazement and wonder to what The Dark Knight Rises will bring is eating me alive.

09) X-Men Trilogy                                                                                                 (Average RT Rating: 75%)

The X-Men trilogy is the lowest ranking percentage-wise bunch of films on this list and a lot of that has to do with the beating that X3 took by critics and most fans. I’m on the other side of the fence when it comes to X3, found it to be a fun action flick that takes major liberties with characters, but that doesn’t bore you. X1 is a standard jumping off film that really spends all of it delving into the origins of these mutants and their roles in life. X2 is the finest of the bunch, one of the all time great opening film moments with Nightcrawler in the White House and one of the best endings of the Phoenix rising.

08) The Evil Dead Trilogy                                                                                   (Average RT Rating: 89%)

While there are talks of remaking the first Evil Dead, there will never be another experience like seeing that original, gritty, and raw film for the first time. Our hero Ash and camp of clueless kids open up a book in a cabin…and all hell breaks loose. It’s not so much about its story, because Raimi does a better job of re-doing the film in his sequel, but it’s about the love of slapstick comedy and horror that Evil Dead gets right. Ash is one of those great protagonists that has the attitude of an antagonist. He’s badass, he has one normal hand and one chainsaw hand, he carries a boomstick and when he finds a situation to be exciting, it is in the best sense of a word…”Groovy.” That is why these films are groovy, because you can sit back with popcorn and an open mind and watch a filmmaker have fun.

07) Spider-Man Trilogy                                                                                   (Average RT Rating: 81%)

Is it pure coincidence that Sam Raimi holds back-to-back spots on this list? Probably not…but could these two trilogies of his be any further a part…or maybe they are closer than you think.  Ok, so I might be more unbiased when it comes to Spider-Man just because of my personal feelings toward the character and the films, but I have always thought that the first film, along with X-Men, helped set the comic book boom of the 00’s. Spider-Man 2 in my mind is still one, if not the greatest comic book film and that the third film, while not on the level of excellence of the first two, still is more of a “Spider-Man Film” than just a “Spider-Man Film” The moment with Spidey and Green Goblin fighting from the Brooklyn Bridge to the warehouse in the first film, Doc. Ock vs. Spidey on the train from the second and well the birth of Sandman in the third are all really fantastic and stand out moments for me. Tobey Macguire brought something equally important to both the roles of Peter Parker and Spider-Man; hopefully we get more of the same from Andrew Garfield and his portrayal.

06) The Dollars Trilogy                                                                                  (Average RT Rating: 96%)

This would probably be higher on most people’s lists, but for me the ones that out rank these films are for a more personal reason. But out of respect to Clint Eastwood’s amazing portrayal of “The Man With No Name” and the superb direction Sergio Leone, I have to give The Dollars Trilogy its due at number six. If you don’t like westerns, you wont like these movies, but if you have any inkling of a love for the Italian west than you are in store for a treat. This film is a big inspiration for the great directors of today like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. To watch these films is not so much to enjoy a western movie, but to partake in film history and experience the knowledge of excellent film making on its highest level.

05) The Jason Bourne Trilogy                                                                                     (Average RT Rating: 86%)

Won’t make any friends when I say this, but fuck it, Jason Bourne movies are better than James Bond films. There, I said it. In three progressively great films, Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon gives something to the spy genre that its been dying of for ages…a shot of adrenaline, hand-to-hand combat, and car chases that don’t need rockets or parachutes to make them exciting. In Identity, we are introduced to Bourne, in Supremacy we up the ante with a pissed off Bourne looking for answers, and in the supremely Ultimatum, we find Jason Bourne getting those answers and making people pay for turning him into a killing machine. Three movies rejuvenated a dead genre in such a way that even good ol’ 007 had to take the formula and run with their new films.

04) Back to the Future Trilogy                                                                                (Average RT Rating: 77%)

For the life of me I can’t understand how this trilogy has a low rating as a whole. I know the critics and some fans have problems with BTTF III, but out of the three movies, the second trip Back to the Future was the lowest rank, while I find it to be the second best of the film. It’s really hard for me to go and pick from the first two films, because the first film is so utterly classic with lines, moments, characters, and set-up, while the sequel comes and takes all that and adds to it and turns it on its head at the same time. The third film is just great if you like westerns and love foreshadowing, as everything you get in BTTF III you been told about in BTTF II. Marty McFly might be one of the best underachieving characters in film history, and even though he isn’t a mad scientist to the exact definition of the word, how do you not like Doc Brown?

03) The Original Star Wars Trilogy                                                                           (Average RT Rating: 90%)

Now in my introduction tot his list, I said no series that had four or more films to its name would be included…so I’m kinda bending my own rules here, so let’s say I don’t count prequels, because god knows nobody does when it comes to The Original Trilogy. Obi Wan, Yoda, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Luke, Chewi, Darth Vader, C3-P0 and R2-D2. These are all characters that have become so part of Americana and film history, and it were these three films that introduced them to the world. The first Star Wars was an Oscar Nominated Best Picture and probably right up there with 2001: A Space Odyssey as one of the pioneer and most influential sci-fi/space pictures of all time. And how do you follow that up? … with only one of the greatest sequels in cinema history, The Empire Strikes Back.  Maybe Return of the Jedi introduced us to Ewoks, but they are welcomed addition as long as nothing named Jar-Jar Binks is even mentioned in this trilogy. While Lucas has been altering and editing his original trilogy for the past decade or so to mixed reviews, it still holds up as one of the most important movie trilogies to one specific genre.

02) The Godfather Trilogy                                                                                (Average RT Rating: 88%)

Now as important as the Star Wars trilogy is important to a genre, The Godfather trilogy and films are cinema royalty. You want to know how important the first two Godfather films are? Ask anyone to rank the top 10 greatest films of all time, without a doubt The Godfather Pt. I and II rank in that top five…maybe even top three. They are that important to film. Not only did Godfather pt. I win Best Picture…Godfather Pt. II became the ONLY film sequel to win Best Picture along with its original. Now while a lot of accolade and acclaim goes to the first two films, many people love to over look the subtle greatness and pure agony of Pacino’s Corleone in the third film. We see a stripped down Michael with no more family to call his own, left with his own sins and just left to die a meaningless and lonely death. You can easily overlook Sofia Coppolla’s horrible acting for the poignant acting by Pacino and Diane Keaton.

01) Toy Story Trilogy                                                                                       (Average RT Rating: 99%)

How did a CGI animated film of a bunch of toys coming to life when nobody is around beat out Star WarsGodfatherBack to the Future and the rest of this list? Well, heart. It is because of the people that work at Pixar that Toy Story films are some of the most entertaining and heart-warming films there are. They are simple in concept — who as a child never thought that their toys came to life when they weren’t around? But the stories that are told — abandonment, feeling left out, feeling replaceable, and the overwhelming sense of your death — are all formulas of this trilogy. When the first Toy Story came out in 1995 I was hooked. A few years later I was more than ecstatic to see not only a sequel…but a rare Disney sequel that wasn’t horrible, but quite the opposite, extraordinary. Then I had to wait more than a decade for the third film, which by the end had me in tears. These films aren’t for kids, they are for all audiences of all ages, because Toy Story is more than just an animated film…and the trilogy is a collection of cinema art at its highest level.