Wednesday, May 21, 2014

X-Men Retrospective: The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen
Rated: PG-13 (but go for the Unrated cut)

Today is not my day

Up front, forgive me if this winds up being short because I've written about this one a few different times in a few different places.  This film first caught my attention aside from being an X-Men project because Darren Aronofsky was attached.  This was going to be his foray into big budget blockbuster filmmaking.  He had originally tried to get onboard with Batman Begins and then also Man Of Steel as well.  But he ended up dropping out of this one and the reigns got passed on to journeyman James Mangold, who I have nothing against, but was a little disappointed being a big fan of Aronofsky's.  I also worried that this wasn't going to be the vision it once was.
The trailers came and went.  We got some rather nifty posters, but the excitement level just sort of wasn't altogether there until the week before the film was coming out.  Summer was super weak, and we had been overlooking and not thinking about this film the entire time.  All of a sudden people thought..."hey, maybe The Wolverine" is going to be good?  And then some buzz started coming along.  And you know what?  Hey, the film actually was good.  I feel bad for it though.  Fox had a really good film on their hands, and instead of promote it and sell sell sell The Wolverine, all the did was continually publicize Days Of Future Past.  They could wait til The Wolverine had come and gone.  The Days Of Future Past news bits and the like overshadowed this release completely.  It made it look as if The Wolverine wasn't a very important film and that it really didn't matter at all because Days Of Future Past was coming!
I really enjoyed this film when I saw it in theaters, but have since grown even more fond of it with the extended and unrated cut that came out on Blu-ray.  It was nice to see an X-Men film that wasn't overcrowded with mutants, and was a more personalized and total one-off character story.  How refreshing was it that the stakes in the film were on a personal level as well?  No "Oh man, the world is going to be destroyed if Wolverine doesn't save the day!"  Although, it does stray from the film's sort of mission statement with its tone in the climax by remembering its a comic book superhero movie and falling right into the traps of it.  But, I still think it works and even though its not very balance, its not even approaching damaging any of the work in the first two acts.
I gotta mention that the bullet train sequence in the film is down right awesome and one of my favorite action sequences of 2013 (that wasn't in Fast & Furious 6).  This little piece of action is just an absolute thrill and joy to watch.  Its well choreographed and I think the CG is done well enough to keep it grounded and dangerous looking.  Wolverine also gets into some cool violence with his claws in the film, and if you've got the extended cut you get some blood too.  But, a lot of this film is Wolverine doing some detective work and battling personal demons.  Its actually really well balanced and brings a unique story to the X-Men franchise we hadn't seen until.
The Wolverine was my favorite comic superhero film of 2013, just edging out Iron Man 3.  With every watch I enjoy it more and more.  I'm growing quite fond of the film.  I know, you may be wondering where some topics are that I missed in this piece.  As I said above, I've written about this movie multiple times, and as it is, I'm one who doesn't take joy in repeating myself.  So, if you're new to the Naptown Nerd, you can trace back to stuff I've written regarding the film by following the links below.

Next Time:  Holy crap!  It's really here isn't it? YAYAYA!! Very excited!

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