The Wolverine

tn_thewolverineRemember Darren Aranofsky was gonna do this new Wolverine movie? He’d done THE WRESTLER and he was the original director on THE FIGHTER and then he named it THE WOLVERINE, but he had to drop out to deal with The Child Custody. From the roll he was on I bet he would’ve made a hell of a movie, but his replacement James Mangold (COPLAND, 3:10 TO YUMA) came up with something pretty interesting too. For his movie the title is representative of the whole approach: strip away the convoluted series-connecting business indicated in the title of the last one (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE) and just focus everything on this character, this Wolverine. The Wolverine.

mp_thewolverine I always thought Hugh Jackman as Wolverine looked like young Clint Eastwood – the guy does a good scowl – so it’s great that they gave him a movie that’s like a one-off action vehicle that happens to take place in the world of the X-Men. A movie without much more scope than THE GAUNTLET or BLOODWORK or something. Simple and intimate as far as the super hero pictures go.

Remember how cool it was that DREDD wasn’t about the most exciting thing that ever happened to him, it was just one day on the job? This is a little like that. There’s no scheme to destroy or rule the world, nothing that’s gonna affect all the humans or all the mutants, or destroy a city, or even a landmark. It’s just a story about the time Wolverine got called to Tokyo by an old acquaintance and got into some shit. It does revolve around Wolverine’s super powers (the guy wants his healing powers, and thinks he wants to lose them and be able to die in peace) and his unique story (Wolverine’s ageless and fought in a bunch of wars, so this is a guy he saved in WWII) but the plot boils down to the ol’ classic “guy protects young heiress in danger.” Not just that – in danger from the Yakuza! This could’ve been a Dolph Lundgren movie.

Or actually…

…maybe even a Seagal movie. In THE KEEPER he became bodyguard to an old rich friend’s daughter. And in INTO THE SUN (above) there’s a scene where he and a girl walk through a pachinko parlor, as Wolverine does in THE WOLVERINE. But Wolverine is with Mariko, the girl he’s protecting and falling in love with. Seagal is with Mai Ling, a young student who protects him with a sword, equivalent to the character Yukio in THE WOLVERINE. So it’s totally different.

THE WOLVERINE uses a bunch of tried-and-true elements of straight-ahead, non-super action movies: a fight with rednecks in a bar who underestimate him, a young girl with a samurai sword sworn to protect him, a ninja who follows the other girl around protecting her, an interrogation that ends in throwing a guy off a balcony even though he cooperated, a fight on a train, even a self surgery scene. But Wolverine does that a little different from how Rambo does it.

My favorite part of the movie is a skirmish and chase that leads to a fight on top of a bullet train. He has to hold on with his claws and let go to fly over low-hanging signs. It’s like UNDER SIEGE 2 meets the RETURN OF THE JEDI speeder bikes. Pretty fake looking, but the choreography makes it thrilling.

Alot of the other action seems less digital than in, say THE AVENGERS, and there’s plenty of clever business with arrows and snow and the way he uses his claws and etc. There’s a little too much camera shaking to quite call it old school, but it’s in that neighborhood. His guide Yukio (Rila Fukushima) is psychic, but otherwise the only mutant is Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), some kind of snake lady. She’s a pretty cheesy villainess (I’m not big on her cgi forked tongue) but luckily doesn’t have that much screen time. And it’s worth having her in there for the nasty part where she sheds her skin and leaves it for somebody to find and have nightmares about for the rest of their life.

(Honestly I thought all the mutant character cameos and shit they fit into the last WOLVERINE solo deal were fine, but it’s kinda nice to leave that out of this one, keep it simple. Don’t worry, there’s a little credits cliffhanger thing for the people who are into that.)

Despite the limited mutant representation, the mere presence of John “The Wolverine” Loganfield makes shit get crazier than in normal non comic book world. The aforementioned a-little-different-than-Rambo self surgery scene involves clawing into his chest to do surgery on his own heart. That shit would be dicey enough but then a fuckin ninja jumps in and tries to attack him while he’s doing it! Not cool. So Yukio has a sword fight to defend him and this for me is an action scene trifecta: the weirdness of clawing his own heart, the awesomeness of a ninja duel and the sweetness of Yukio showing her loyalty to Mr. Logan.

Everything’s going along nicely but then the climax feels a little off. It involves a CGI robot-like guy, not big enough to satisfy spectacle-seekers, but unnecessary for those of us happy to get a break from that stuff. When the battle turns personal again the villain starts talking like he knows he’s a villain, which is disappointingly out of character. He’d demonstrated himself to be a good person and had a goal that seemed self-centered but understandable. Now all the sudden he seems to just be evil, which is not as interesting, and not in keeping with the best qualities of previous X-villains. I always like that I kinda root for the villains. Shout out to Mystique.

I gotta admit I got a little confused too, I lost track of who wanted what. There’s the dying head of the company (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), his innocent granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), her jealous father (Yiroyuki Sanada, MESSAGE FROM SPACE), the corrupt minister of justice she’s arranged to marry (Brian Tee – D.K. from TOKYO DRIFT!), her ninja bodyguard/stalker ex-boyfriend (Will Yun Lee, ELEKTRA), the snake lady… alot to keep track of.

And in the middle of all this it’s kind of a surprise to realize that Wolverine is in love with Mariko. Or at least he fucks her. It kinda caught me off guard because she’s the granddaughter of his old friend, and she looks real young, I thought it was a fatherly relationship. Plus, so much of the movie is about him still being in love with Cyclops’s girlfriend from the other movies. And also, if he was gonna go for one of the young locals it seems like he has a better chemistry with asskicking Yukio. Not that anybody wants to see that. She’s like the other little sister he never had besides Rogue.

Anyway, Mariko feels more like a James Bondian conquest than like love, but from what I have read using researching computers and wikis this Mariko character in the comics is supposed to be the love of his life. (Though Yukio sounds like an overall more important character because she inspired Storm to get a mohawk.) In the movies I believe his dead wife from ORIGINS is the love of his life and his dead Jean Grey from X3 is the love of his life 2.0 so I don’t know if there’s room for Mariko to also be the love of his life. Though she’s alive, she has that going for her.

Anyway, I guess Seagal was engaged to the young lady in INTO THE SUN and that came kinda out of the blue too. It fits the genre.

While THE WOLVERINE works as its own standalone movie, if you’ve seen the other ones you know it’s also a bridge between X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and the upcoming X-MEN ORIGINS FIRST CLASS PART 2: GENERATIONS. He’s dealing with the consequences of what happened at the end of X3. It still haunts him every time he closes his eyes. I know everybody hated that one because… well, I honestly still don’t understand why exactly, but we can all agree that everybody hated it. Still, what happened at the end was pretty monumental for this character and works as a perfect backstory for why he would become a homeless wannabe-pacifist who disowns the name Wolverine or his X-Man affiliations. And lives out in the wilderness protecting animals from poachers. Like Seagal in OUT OF REACH.

Well, that’s why at the beginning of the movie he’s lost, and we see him find himself again. This is the story of how Wolverine got his groove back.

I don’t mean that like “the character used to be stupid and now they finally got him right”. I’ve always enjoyed this character on screen. I don’t know how representative it is of the Comic-Book-American community, but I noticed in Harry’s rave review he complained about the Wolverine character being terrible in the previous movies except for part 2. I thought that was kinda funny because I’m absolutely convinced that without this character in the first X-MEN there would be no Geek Renaissance for Harry to enjoy. BLADE invented  the modern comic book movie, but X-MEN brought it mainstream and they lucked out with Jackman’s last minute casting and how great he was, and that is the main reason for the movie’s success. If that hadn’t happened I don’t think we’d get all the movies that led to the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and that whole cinematic universe that forms the foundation of Harry’s religion.

The other brilliant thing was hiring Bryan Singer to do that movie,  a guy that didn’t worship at the altar of X-Men comic books but when introduced to them saw great characters and stories and metaphors that he knew how to translate to cinema. And Mangold strikes me as less nerdy than Singer. I bet he’s in that same mold.

I don’t think Mangold is the visionary they thought he was gonna be when he first popped up in the indie-crazy ’90s, but he’s made plenty of good ones (WALK THE LINE being an obvious highlight) and he’s an interesting choice for this. He sees the side of Logan that could try to get Russell Crowe onto that 3:10 train more than the one that puts on the jumpsuit and flies in the X-Jet.

The script is also by some gentlemen without strong comic book affiliations: Mark Bomback of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD fame (okay, I guess he did an uncredited rewrite of CONSTANTINE) and Scott Frank, best known for OUT OF SIGHT and GET SHORTY. (I wonder if he and Mangold talked much about Elmore Leonard?) I guess JACK REACHER’s Christopher McQuarrie also did an uncredited rewrite on this, as he did with the first X-MEN. A few similarities to JACK REACHER too. Legendary badass drifter comes into town, fights guys in bars and on streets, gets involved in mystery that is maybe a little more convoluted than I’d prefer, roughs up some guys to get the answers he needs, gets beat up a little, faces down creepy old guy, mutters a few funny tough guy lines.

I wouldn’t say THE WOLVERINE is a home run, but it’s solid, it’s different from other comic book movies, it’s a character-driven action movie with a good central performance, a serious but not depressing tone, and plenty of cool shit. I like it. I’m sure I’ll watch it again.

3D NOTE: I went to a 2D showing since it’s fake 3D.


This entry was posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013 at 12:14 am and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

139 Responses to “The Wolverine”

  1. I feel like a dick for bringing this up, since the sentiment of this review is great and probably most reasonable people will like this, but here goes…Is it too much to ask for some internal logic in these movies? He loses his healing powers, but he can take bullet hits, the only side effect being that he makes a grouchy face for a couple hours. His adamantium claws somehow only cut through what the plot requires them to. Prophetic mutant girl can always see the future, except for that one time because Wolverine watches a lot of “House” I guess. And the characters…jeez, if they aren’t forgettable they’re just plain dumb, if not one-note evil. I second Jeremy’s comment about Viper – just a sneering Disney villain. I laughed when she described herself a nihilist – instant explanation of her awfulness. And poor Hiroyuki Sanada gets a roundly shitty character: if he isn’t being a bigot towards handsome mutants he’s selling his daughter out, slapping his daughter, or trying to kill his daughter.

    Hugh Jackman completely owns this character like Snipes owns Blade, he is totally awesome and the last couple movies have let him down. I feel like “The Wolverine” was TRYING to do the right thing – scale down the story, keep it organic, make it about this one incredible character’s mission and how he feels about life. If Aronofsky had directed it, as was intended, that’s exactly what it would have been. But with this, you get Fox’s deplorable filmmaking-by-committee, so you’ve got the Viper character and the lame Jean Grey flashbacks and the ending that isn’t even an ending, just an invitation to pay for a sequel.

  2. I pretty much agree. Solid film, which I definitely enjoyed more than the prior Wolverine movie and X-men 3. I too thought the Viper lady was pretty goofy, same with the reveal at the end with the Silver Samurai being his old friend who apparently went totally off the deep end between the beginning and end of Wolverine’s Tokyo visit. And while I know Mariko in the comics was Wolverine’s love, of the 2 characters in this movie I honestly thought he had more chemistry with Yukio, his relationship with Mariko came across a lot more forced, and didn’t exactly make HER look good either. I mean, according to her dialogue, the only reason she wasn’t with the archer dude was because she got put in that arranged marriage to the Minister of Justice. But then she meets Wolverine, and after knowing him for what, a day or 2, she not only forgets about the archer who she previously loved, she also forgets about the arranged marriage that supposedly kept her from him in the first place.

  3. Patrick, I’m kinda unsure about how little getting shot affected him too. They did say his power was only “suppressed” so maybe it was still partly functioning and able to keep him going? And his claws were shown to cut through anything, the only thing he never cut through was the adamantium Silver Samurai(which makes sense-2 knives with the same steel aren’t normally going to cut through each other). And Yukio couldn’t see the future, she could only see a person’s death. And Wolverine did “die” on the table, it was just that the injury that killed him also happened to bring his healing back(or back to full strength, whatever), so he “came back to life”. Maybe her power isn’t quite as specific when it comes to people who can come back from the dead?

  4. Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt D.S., I thought that, following the logic of the claws, they should have been able to cut through the ninja/yakuza swords as well.

  5. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 29th, 2013 at 1:49 am

    (SPOILERS AHEAD) I did dig this more than the X-MEN: ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, but something was missing for me that I can’t pin down. I’m glad it was a more intimate, small scale Wolferine movie because I’m tired of the world having to be saved all the time. But it felt like it could’ve been better. I think maybe if you’re gonna scale down in scope and be about the characters, then you gotta make important players like Mariko and Yashida feel more real, with clearer motivations and personality. They’re more functional than fleshed out.

    Shingen was the most intriguing guy in the movie to me – ruthless, filled with rage towards both his father and his daughter, burdened with a warrior’s legacy that he’s possibly frustrated that he can’t live up to. Pretty good stuff, and in my opinion he would’ve made for a better main heavy than the old man. Maybe give more of a face to the yakuza (I really dug the looks of the ‘kuza henchmen on the train) and show a somehow-weakened or compromised Logan working to take them down along with Shingen, and throw out all the stealing his superpowers stuff.

    I also thought Jean Grey’s ghost or whatever constantly appearing was unnecessary (sorry Famke), though I guess without those scenes Wolvy wouldn’t have a character arc. But there’s a moment where Mariko asks “Who’s Jean?” that I think would’ve been really effective if we hadn’t seen or heard anything about her up to that point.

    The action is pretty solid. Wolverine’s a tough character because some of the things that make him cool, his healing powers and his metal skeleton, also make it difficult to show him in real danger. So I appreciated that the movie did everything it could to make him vulnerable, from taking away his healing to having the big robot chop off his claws. Reminded me a little of IRON MAN 3 in that respect. The train fight was goofy but exciting. Wolverine vs Shingen could’ve been great if it happened before he got his healing back. Wolverine vs. big samurai robot was kinda shitty in my opinion.

    “When the battle turns personal again the villain starts talking like he knows he’s a villain, which is disappointingly out of character. He’d demonstrated himself to be a good person and had a goal that seemed self-centered but understandable. Now all the sudden he seems to just be evil, which is not as interesting, and not in keeping with the best qualities of previous X-villains.”

    That’s a pretty good point. He actually cut loose with an evil bad guy laugh at one point. Pretty disappointing because this elderly guy who’s desperate to extend his life and has history with Logan going back to WW2 could make for a pretty interesting conflicted villain. What kind of journey did this dude go on that turned him from senior citizen Nagasaki survivor to insane old man in a giant robo-suit willing to jeopardize his fortune and even his granddaughter’s life for a convoluted immortality scheme?

    I had the same reservation about The Wolverine having sex with Mariko. He seemed like more of a father figure type and it creeped me out a little.

    Re: McQuarrie’s involvement, my understanding is that he originally wrote the screenplay that Aronofsky was going to direct a couple years ago. When Mangold came aboard it was rewritten, and since I noticed McQuarrie’s name wasn’t in the end credits I’m guessing substantially so.

  6. Also Vern – I thought of you when they removed Wolvie’s bullets and laid them into that metal tray with a “clink.”

  7. Yeah, even in X-Men World you gotta have a metal tray to drop the slug on, otherwise you can’t do that surgery.

  8. The Undefeated Gaul

    July 29th, 2013 at 2:31 am

    I like a lot about The Wolverine but for a film that uses so many action movie characteristics that it can even be compared to a Seagal flick (that comparison made me laugh btw, great call) it really messes up the action bits.

    For a start you have Wolverine losing his healing powers, which is a great idea in theory. But then in the film it results in him getting knocked out, shot down and overpowered so often that we never get a satifsfying end to any particular fight. And when we do, let’s say in the fight against Shingen, it’s after Logan gets his powers back and the poor guy never even stands a chance, removing all tension from the scene. Shingen should have been the main villain, the final bad guy, and they should’ve figured something out to make him a bit more powerful so as to stand a chance against fully restored Wolvie.

    But here’s my single biggest disappointment. If there is one thing I love about action movies it’s the fight at the start of the climax against either the main villain’s henchmen or his army of disposable bad guys. The fight to show that our hero may have been down, but now he’s back and he’s going to kick unholy ass. Two of my fav examples: Blade rising up out of the blood and fighting Ron Perlman’s underlings in Blade 2 + Bale mowing down that hallway full of guards in Equilibrium.

    In The Wolverine we were all set up for a fight like that with the ninjas in the village. Wolvie just got his powers back, there’s a cool snowy village, there’s an army of ninjas. There’s the obligatory “Go fuck yourself” tough guy talk and then we’re off… until 2 seconds later Wolvie gets subdued by a couple of arrows and comically fallls face first into the snow.

    What a wasted opportunity.

  9. I was disappointed with the NINJA TOWN SHOWDOWN too. If you look at the trailers, Mangold definitely deleted some things from that sequence (Wolverine getting his hands chained up, Wolverine causing an explosion that blows some ninjas up, Wolverine smoking a cigar). That stuff will probably show up in the “bloodier” unrated cut that Mangold has planned.

  10. Patrick, he repeatedly cut through ninja/yakuza swords with his claws. Also their guns.

  11. I don’t think McQuarrie did uncredited rewrites, I think we wrote the original draft when Aronofosky was trying to make this a crazy R-rated movie, and when Aronofsky left, Mangold came on and brought his own writers and McQuarrie’s draft got rewritten a few times.

    In any case, I thought this was a pretty good movie, too, definitely enjoyed watching Wolverine go through more physical and emotional torment than ever before. Good stuff.

  12. I hope this movie does well, because I would like them to make a sequel called Wolverine and Yukio: Adventures in Madripoor, where Wolverine and Yukio just turn up in some Southeast Asian pirate town, and then it’s 90 minutes of them having to have to fight all the ninjas.

  13. @Patrick: I think they were pretty consistent about Yukio’s power. Both when she didn’t predict Old Guy Yashida’s death, and then he turned out to be alive, and when she predicted Wolverine’s death and was, technically, correct — his heart stopped and everything, but then his healing factor kicked in and brought him back to life.

  14. Braak – I suppose you’re right…I can see how his healing powers could render the prophecy both correct and incorrect.

    DKS – You’re telling me the bad guys didn’t block countless blows from Logan with their swords?

  15. I didn’t really get why the old guy jumped the gun and faked his death. It just seemed to screw up everything. It leads to Mariko becoming a target which leads to the funeral which leads to the old guy losing Mariko & Wolverine. You’d think priority #1 would be securing Logan. They had already put the healing factor-suppressing robot spider thing in his body. Just shoot him with some poison arrows and drag him to the SPOOKY CLIFF HEADQUARTERS.

  16. David Cloverfield

    July 29th, 2013 at 8:44 am

    My only problem with the movie (and wolverine in general) is when he fights regular humans. The poor little mortal redshirts who put up a fight against him (like Samurai Dad in this one, and even the Yakuzas on the train) seems that much more badass and heroic than he is, even if they are bad guys. They are obviously more skilled than “The Wolverine” but he has claws and a fancy healing factor. It’s hard not to root for the underdog is what I’m saying.

  17. I feel like with these superhero movies, you kind of have to turn down expectations as far as putting your heroes in jeopardy. These guys are invincible and super-powered – do any of them ever break a sweat? Hell, even Hawkeye in “The Avengers,” a mortal in the middle of a massive alien invasion, is shooting no-look arrows like a flashy athlete.

    I guess that allowed me to be able to accept that “The Wolverine” has the hero go from invincible to semi-invincible. It loses some impact if you’re watching this film in a bubble, but if the previous five X-Men movies are still fresh in your mind, then it’s sort of refreshing not seeing Wolverine sneeze off everything. And that, I suppose, makes it satisfying when he finally goes after Shingen at the end fully powered, like, “Oh, shit, he just grabbed a powerup.”

    I thought this was pretty cool. I liked the storytelling – not afraid to be slow and methodical, even lyrical at times. And Jackman is great as always, plus you have non-CGI ninja attacks, and you can never have enough of those. Is it weird that, in a crowded audience, I started silently clapping like a little boy when those ninjas started invading Yashida’s home near the end with all those silent flips and executions? I do hope that R-rated version has more ninjas. I think, in time, this will be the X-Men movie I re-watch the most.

    FYI, the difference between X-Men The Last Stand and the other films: the final battle in the third film features six X-Men against Magneto’s army. Two of them, Wolverine and Colossus, are metal-based. Magneto could easily use his powers to chuck those two into the bay and cut his enemy down by a third. So why doesn’t he? And why do you have Juggernaut and Colossus on the same battlefield and they never fight? I feel like the Singer films NEVER put the audience in a position where they have to ask those questions.

  18. I suppose its credit to this movie that the samurai robot is the generally agreed absurd bridge too far, but not the train sequence where characters use gravity and the train’s momentum to move and attack each other, a snake-themed mutant, a soothsayer mutant who could swing a mean samurai sword, Yakuza hitmen who keep throwing themselves at a blender like Wolverine, the stalking ninja archer who can move freely between city buildings, etc.

    wadew – Its a little convoluted to say the least. I agree. I suppose part of it was to clear out his son out since if his youth is restored, what good is that offspring which plotted against him? But hey if folks can forgive Zod for invading Earth instead of simply colonizing another habitable planet free of a sentient species and Supermen, I think I’ll forgive TW for that.

    David Cloverfield – Personally I loved at the ninja climax that look on that guy’s face when he realizes Wolverine got his power back. I love when villains have the “oh SHIT!” look which says everything that needs to be said.

    Of course what you ignore, quite blatantly, is that they still defeated him by ingenuity. It’s simple yet it works.

    Anyway I already caught hell for saying this, but I’ll repeat it again: I enjoyed this more than MOS. Better paced, more engaging for the most part. True TW was much less ambitious, different filmatic scheme since it’s basically an Eastwood movie (reminded me of JACK REACHER last year with the economical narrative of action, humor, and plot) and it’s nothing more than a decent afternoon killer. Yet there was more feeling, more emotional devastation in that one simple line (“you put me here!) than a bad guy’s neck getting snapped. (Using Patrick’s internal logic.)

    Yeah I’m sorry I killed you. I didn’t want to, but I had no choice. I loved you and I’ll never forgive myself, but I’ll learn to carry that guilt and get back into the world.

    Yeah sorry I broke your neck after you killed millions of my people trying to kill Earth and was gonna fry up a family.

    Gee which ending is more relatable?

    I suppose the MOS fight scenes are better, bigger budget and in scale too. (TW’s budget was apparently $120 million, and I wouldn’t be shocked if MOS’ budget was 100 million larger.) In fact in the MOS thread I’ve recanted my bitching at Snyder’s action scenes. Its just that when you don’t care about the situation and characters, so what? Of course he’s another biscuit into the fire: I think IM3 was still better than either picture. Man all those people back in bitching about IM3’s climax, it’s held up hell considering alot of the movies we’ve gotten so far. :)

    Am I the only one who actually kinda liked that simple “2 years later” text? I liked that one move basically didn’t trivialize TW as a trailer for DAYS OF FUTURE PAST…which to be fair, it is honestly. (The Marvel-controlled films are now ads for AVENGERS series if you think about it.) TW is a solo adventure, a hero in his own mini-universe with his own friends and enemies with scant X-Men connection. I appreciate that.

    (I do kinda admire that TW borrowed a classic James Bond movie gag and did it better IMO.)

  19. RRA – (The Marvel-controlled films are now ads for AVENGERS series if you think about it.)

    They have been that since the post-credits scene from IRON MAN. This is nothing new.

  20. So, what DOES Wolverine do in the two years between The Wolverine and Days of Future Past?

  21. I’ll never understand why people find the story and especially the characters in Man of Steel uninvolving…the movie had a ton of heart in that everyone (in the spirit of the title character) is behaving selflessly and saving each other, from Ma Kent to Emil Hamilton. I wouldn’t even necessarily exempt Zod, since his actions generally do spring from a specific ideology and desire to do right by his people. Each character in the movie seems to have been carefully written so that you understand what their values are and how they feel in the context of the situation. Again, I think it’s a knee-jerk response to its visual polish (if it looks this good it must be hollow), and prejudice towards Snyder due to an irrational hatred of Sucker Punch (I didn’t enjoy that movie but have there been worse style-over-substance fiascoes? Hell yeah!).

    As far as the pacing of MoS, I guess I must be biased because of my love for the comics and the Dini animated series. To me, it was exhilarating to see a contemporary, flesh-and-blood rendition of that familiar origin story. And the neck snapping, which continues to be an annoying point of contention for people that won’t give the movie it’s due (thus condemning the sequel to be shanghaied by Batmam at the whim of a chickenshit, risk-averse studio)…of course it’s not a situation that I can directly relate to in my life experience, but it’s a sign of the movie’s skillful acting and writing that because I knew what Superman’s values were, and how Zod was forcing him to make an impossible choice, that it moved me anyway (yeah yeah “destruction porn” etc.)

    Though I protest, I’ll never convince anyone so fortified against a legitimately great Superman movie that there is something of value there. The Wolverine wasn’t a bad movie, and I wouldn’t have blinked if this came out in the early 2000’s, but I think the genre has gotten more sophisticated since then because of movies like TDK and Iron Man and (yeah I’ll say it) Watchmen. Hugh Jackman is great in it, he totally brings it. The movie was otherwise very dull. Our main difference, RRA, I guess is that While you prefer the characters in The Wolverine, I thought the ones in MoS were better on pretty much every level.

    But you argue well and it’s a free country. Peace be with you.

  22. Also,

    Gabe T – I have a feeling Singer will let us know. Peter Dinklage for president.

    RRA – Which Bond gag was borrowed? I missed that.

  23. I keep hearing that this is pretty decent, but is it really worth the money to see it in the cinema? I absolutely did not enjoy the first solo Wolverine film, nor X3, but liked the first two X-Men films and First Class. And I enjoyed MOS, though I thought it was a little long. Maybe a matinee?

  24. Really liked this, but thought the silly extra climax with the robot spoiled the rest of the movie’s tone. They should have just went with the son being the villain and if you needed to have more action, make the Ninjas work for him and have Logan have to fight them either before or just after he gets his healing powers back. Have Shingen’s sword be coated in that poison to give him more of a chance, though I personally didn’t mind that so much, as the whole point wasn’t that he killed the guy, but he actually spares him at first to live with his shame, and when the guy pushes it too far, then he gets killed, with a badass one liner that was a way cooler note to go out on than “Sayonara!” That said though, I did actually like a few things about that extra fight, such as Yukio getting to fight Viper Lady (she was a bit too defensive trying to protect Wolverine earlier, so nice to give her an actual kill) and them claws being cut off. I was actually really worried there for a second, and it was a nice “oh shit, it just got real!” moment, and having him still have the bone claws in the 2 years later coda was nice. Come to think of it, he should have them for most of the next X-Men movie too, since it’s set before he undergoes the procedure. Though I suppose they could always have him get Magneto to manipulate some liquid Adamantium and slather it on his claws to cool down if they really need it.

    I don’t hate THE LAST STAND either, Vern. People just really lost their shit at that movie because it didn’t live up to what they’d hoped a Phoenix storyline would be, and because they couldn’t lower their expectations in light of the production troubles. I remember an AICN review (not by Harry) where someone recounted how after walking out of it, he and his friend looked over at each other with immense sadness and disgust on their faces, apparently because we didn’t get Cosmic Fire Bird Phoenix laying waste to other alien planets, something that had zero build up in films 1 and 2 (the Pheonix was just presented as a power surge for Jean that she was having trouble controlling. Nothing indicated the more cosmic origins from the comics)and was obviously not going to be a factor in an X-Men movie.

    Patrick N-
    “I feel like a dick for bringing this up, since the sentiment of this review is great and probably most reasonable people will like this, but here goes…Is it too much to ask for some internal logic in these movies? He loses his healing powers, but he can take bullet hits, the only side effect being that he makes a grouchy face for a couple hours.”
    I think the healing factor gradually weakened before turning off completely, so he’s not totally fucked in the fights. But he also still has an adamantium skeleton, stopping the bullets going completely through and causing more damage, not to mention this means certain organs have more protection.
    “His adamantium claws somehow only cut through what the plot requires them to.”
    Well it’s not just a question of sharpness and unbreakableness, there’s the simple fact that a human being can only apply so much force, so that seems like a reasonable explanation why he isn’t always cutting through things in one go. You see to be suggesting that the claws are so sharp he could just lean them against something and they’d slide right through, which doesn’t seem right to me.

    Though I will add some niggles- how does Wolverine remember all this stuff from WW2? Did he get his memories back after The Last Stand somehow? And why do Shingen and Yukio speak to each other in english after the funeral, and why does that news report on the plane come in english too?

  25. Nick- if you can see it in 2D, it’s worth a go.

  26. Stu, not sure which “procedure” you’re referring to. He got the adamantium implanted in him during X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which is mostly set in the seventies), and this film takes place in sorta-modern day*.

    As for X-Men: The Last Stand, there are a lot of issues with it, but focus on Brett Ratner’s typically nuanced treatment of women:
    -Iceman cheats on Rogue with Kitty Pryde, who has no reservations about going after another woman’s man. Rogue’s answer seems to be that she’s not “good” enough, so she gets the cure to woo him back. The promise of physical intimacy apparently allows him to drop poor Kitty like a bad habit.
    -There are frequent uses of “bitch,” including towards teenage Kitty, and a little girl (that is actually Mystique in disguise, but that makes it no less comfortable).
    -Professor X has a discussion with Storm about possibly taking over the school one day. The movie follows through by essentially making Wolverine the defacto leader, giving Storm a childish rivalry with Callisto, with that conversation completely forgotten.
    -Mystique, who seemed like she was so dedicated to the mutant cause that she felt they didn’t have to change their appearance in part two, now immediately turns around and becomes a traitor against Magneto. The President underlines this by saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”
    -And then there’s Phoenix, who Professor X had been “controlling” this entire time. Magneto’s argument is to let this girl go wild. The result is killing Cyclops with a kiss, blowing away father-figure Professor X, and outraging Wolverine by removing his belt and getting ready for sex – Wolverine can be borderline rapey in his courtship of her during the films, but once she actually wants sex, he says, “No. This isn’t right.” Naturally, her wild side makes her uncontrollable and she is “in pain” enough that the only way she can be saved is by being penetrated by Wolverine’s claws.

    *re: “modern day”… The first film takes place in the “near future,” and a good amount of time passes between the second and third movies. Then we cut ahead another two years after The Wolverine… this is some “24”-type storytelling. What year are they in? And how is it possible Ian McKellan is the youngest-looking Holocaust survivor ever?

  27. Dikembe Mutombo

    July 29th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Stu – “You see to be suggesting that the claws are so sharp he could just lean them against something and they’d slide right through, which doesn’t seem right to me.”

    I mean, he does exactly that in Origins though.

  28. “Stu, not sure which “procedure” you’re referring to. He got the adamantium implanted in him during X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which is mostly set in the seventies), and this film takes place in sorta-modern day*. ”
    But I was talking about the next X-Men movie, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, where he’ll be sent back in time into his younger body in the 70s, so it’ll likely be before he gets the adamantium put in since that happened the same year as the 3-Mile Island incident(which is the climax of Origins), which is ’79. Anyway, I just think bone claws are a cool little change that could make things a bit more challenging for him.

  29. Patrick, the ninjas weren’t blocking his claw strikes, they were deflecting them. Striking the sides(which are unsharpened) and pushing them away, rather than straight ahead blocking the edges. Combined with Wolvering blocking sword strikes with his claws(again, using the unsharpened spine and sides of the claws, rather than the edge), and there is a lot of claw on sword contact that wouldn’t result in the swords being cut. There are also though plenty of instances of his claws cutting right through the swords when there IS sword on claw edge contact. It is possible there was a gaffe where a claw edge was blocked by a sword, but for the most part at least, his claws went right through the blades.

  30. Caught a matinee this morning. I liked it. As has been said before, it’s nice to see a superhero movie that’s just content to be an action movie, not a world-shattering epic. I’d have watched this movie even if Jackman was just playing some non-super dude. My only beef, and hopefully this will be addressed in the unrated cut, is that the fights can only be so good when they star a dude with razor-sharp claws for hands and you’re not allowed to show any actual slashing. It’s like a porno where there’s always a lampshade conveniently placed in front of the naughty bits. Luckily, the characters (deadweight snake lady aside) were interesting enough that the action wasn’t the whole show. I’d happily watch a movie set after this one but before DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (a betweenquel?) about Logan and Yukio (the movie’s clear MVP) taking the rich lady’s jet on vacation and breaking up a land grab scheme by some evil developers with a squad of mutant mercenaries. In fact let’s just put Wolverine in all the staple action movie plots: DIE HARD ripoff, tournament movie, serial killer looking for a worthy adversary, mismatched buddy comedy, mad bomber out for revenge, undercover cop develops sympathy for criminal he’s investigating, etc.

  31. “My only beef, and hopefully this will be addressed in the unrated cut, is that the fights can only be so good when they star a dude with razor-sharp claws for hands and you’re not allowed to show any actual slashing. It’s like a porno where there’s always a lampshade conveniently placed in front of the naughty bits. ”
    Yeah, but there were some cool bits borne out of the discretionary nature of things, like when he claws the guy through the door and you just see the guy’s anguished face pressed against the fogged up glass. And the silhouette of him pulling the Katana out of his chest.

  32. off-topic, but Chris Claremont (who co-wrote with Frank Miller the comic book storyline that was this movie’s source material) liked this movie though he had the same problem with the finale as everybody else does.

    I hate to be stupid, but oddly enough I don’t remember him saying anything about the other X-Men movies. I’m sure he has and I’ve missed them, maybe I should try and google them up?


  33. Stu: Yeah, it wasn’t all bad. It’s mostly just a problem in the melee scenes when he’s hackin’ and slashin’ like a madman and you never see any of his blows connecting. PG-13 is just not the appropriate rating for movies about edged weapons.

  34. Definitely a leaps and bounds improvement over the first film. But yeah, the third act Giant robot nonsense really brings it down a couple notches. Really wish they’d get that a Wolverine flick, in tone and scale, should hue alot closer to something like “Blade”.

  35. Gabe, in all fairness, Ratner came so late to THE LAST STAND (If I remember right, one week before shooting was set to start), that I doubt that he had that much influence on the script. (Although I know that at least “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch” was added by him, because it came from one of the earliest internet memes and he thought it was a funny idea, to put this in-joke in the movie.)

  36. All I know is a dude in front of me fuckin FLIPPED OUT for “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch.” He actually jumped to his feet, pumped his fists in the air and screamed like he was at a wrestling match. I didn’t know until later that he was being blown away by the inclusion of a private internet joke. I thought he just liked that character alot.

  37. It won’t happen, but I’d love to see an R-rated Wolverine movie. Hell, since I’m wishing, I’d love to see the R-Rated Wolverine movie where the band of mutant assassins(terrorists, whatever) he’s hunting turns out to be not just a mutants, but mutant vampires. Then, since the vampires can regenerate wounds just like Wolvie can, they get the upper hand using their superior strength and mutant abilities(nothing too flashy, but something to give them an edge over “normal” vampires)…until Blade shows up and drives them off. Then, you get Blade and Wolvie(who has to take up some of Blade’s weapons, since his claws only slow them down) working together to track down and eliminate the group(whose mutant abilities would also make them more of a challenge for Blade than regular vampire mooks).

  38. Serious question: do the regular X-Men and Wolverine comic books show an R-rated level of blood and dismemberment? I have seen many people saying Wolverine has to be rated-R, but doesn’t the source material usually take an all ages type approach?

    And I guess specifically the story this one is based on, do they draw above-PG-13 level gore into that one?

  39. Superhero comics are definitely more violent and gory than their cinematic counterparts these days, but you’re right, that wasn’t the case with this particular source material when the Comics Code was much more rigid. It’s more that it’s just a different medium. You can sell violent impact in still frames using tools of suggestion (example: You see the guy getting cut from the back and there are action lines passing through him with written sound effects and scraps of shirt flying around. No blood but the path of the blades makes it clear what happened) a lot easier than in moving images, where it’s more obvious that you’re cutting around the good parts.

  40. Comic books by the big 2 publishers haven’t really been “all ages” since the early 80’s. Despite me starting to read comic books when I was 4 in the late 80’s a lot of the stuff I grew up reading especially during the 90’s was just as violent as a lot of the R rated movies I watched as a kid. As the years have gone by and neckbeards scream out for more blood the level of gratuitous violence in mainstream comic books has increased.

    No the source material for this particular Wolverine story isn’t explicitly violent like that. Many other Wolverine stories are though. This is from a more recent Wolverine comic book (issue #66) part of the Old Man Logan storyline by Mark Millar (the guy Fox has entrusted with their Marvel film properties)

    This is from an infamous modern age story by Jeph Loeb where he uses a japanese blade decapitate his arch rival (turns out to not be the real Sabertooth btw)

    This is Wolverine violently killing Bullseye (character Colin Farrell plays in that Daredevil movie) also from Old Man Logan

    Wolverine killing Jean Grey in Grant Morrison’s infamous Planet X story from the early 00’s

    Just a few examples but yeah there is precedent in the comics for ultra violence where Wolverine is concerned. However that’s not really so much an issue I have with these X-Men movies. I dislike the characterizations more than anything else including but not limited to the depiction of Wolverine and find them very bland and unengaging compared to the source material. Which is why I pretty much just avoid these movies altogether.

  41. Though there are things like this, from a “Teen” rated comic I believe:
    Though you still have the stupid double standards about sex and swearing and certain other things. They even banned depicting characters smoking in Marvel comics, though allegedly just because the editor in chief’s dad at the time died of lung Cancer.
    Though on a related note, here’s Wolverine vs. Aunt May

  42. I’m sorry but usually when people say they want a R-rated this or that of a kid’s cartoon/comic, its because they’ve outgrown it and want that medium to meet them there. Reminds me of when the WWF in the 80s was for kids and that original fanbase grew up and had no use for that same ice cream-selling cartoon and turned to ECW or WCW’s New World Order storyline, then WWF went after that direction then receeded somewhat in the last decade and those same people bitch bitch bitch bitch about John Cena.

    As long as Wolverine actually kills people and not go G.I. Joe/Transformers level of avoiding violence/deaths, I’m fine with the PG-13. Maybe if this comic book trend had happened in the 80s, R-rated Wolverine definately would’ve happened. But it didn’t.

  43. Ah some of those images aren’t showing anymore I’ll repost them along with some more Old Man Logan ultra violent nonsense

  44. I think the movies are fine being PG-13. As long as they overdose on the ninjas!

    But yes, every time I crack open a modern comic book, I’m pretty put off and appalled by the level of casual super-violence. I get confused because the Big Two embrace a shared universe perspective, but then there are often separate apocalypses occurring in different comics.

  45. Although this was nowhere as bad as X-Men Origins: Wolverine (XOW), I had many many problems with the movie, many of which have already been mentioned by others here. I think there just needs to be a moratorium on monologueing in these types of comic book movies because it is just cheesy as hell, let alone a character that takes an abrupt heel turn with no reason given whatsoever.

    The plan by the baddie made absolutely no sense whatsoever because he could not have been able to predict or control the events to lead Wolverine to “fall in love” with Mariko (in quotes because there was zero chemistry between those two and it was even kind of creepy) and enable him to be led to the super secret villain base.

    Also, I know why they had Jean Grey in there… but to anyone coming in to this without watching the excreble X-Men: The Last Stand (XTLS) it would simply be a mystery why he keeps dreaming of her. Also, the adamantium over his skeleton and over his bone claws was not very well established either. I know it was covered in XOW but still, who here actually wants to recommend a friend to watch XOW and XTLS just to make sense of elements in this movie?

  46. Cassidy, the baddie didn’t predict or control all that. Wolverine was never meant to fall in love with Mariko and he wasn’t supposed to be LED to the base. The big bad guy was planning on faking his death, then having the weakened Wolverine simply taken to his secret hideout, and that would be that. His plan was screwed up when the yakuza interrupted the funeral, causing Wolverine to go on the run with Mariko.

    Also, they established the adamantium over his bones thing way back in X-Men 1, then went over how it got there in X-Men 2. That part has been pretty well covered IMO. I mean, do you into Avengers 2 and expect to see the situation that lead Tony Start to to create his armor? When you watched Dark Knight Rises did you sit there wondering “Hmm, what made him decide to be Batman”? Even the Jean Grey thing is simple enough to decipher-he loved this girl, and he had to kill her, because she was hurting people. All that was stated in The Wolverine. Sure, if you want the details of how he met her, what led to her hurting people, and the specific situation of when he killed her well, then yeah, you’ll need to watch X1-3.

  47. @Vern: One of the weird things about this is how much cursing Wolverine does, because even though the comics can be more violently lately, they still don’t have him saying “fuck” or “shit” or whatnot. It is very surreal, because obviously Wolverine SHOULD say those things, but you don’t realize how clean his mouth is until you actually hear him saying that stuff in the movies. Maybe he’s more Canadian in the comics.

    In the series that this was (loosely) based on, Wolverine fights about ten thousand ninjas, and you never see any blood. In fact, because they were special The Hand ninjas, when they did they actually caught fire or something, so Wolverine would leave behind these huge piles of ninjas and you could tell they were dead because their faces were smoking.

  48. *when they died


  49. I’ve been wanting to see this, but haven’t made it yet so I mostly skipped the review. But, I wanted to mention something about the R rated vs PG13 rated thing. I think that in the comics, even when things were toned down, they were able to imply much more brutal action than they can in a PG13 movie. Plus, in terms of language, you can use the *&@% style of writing down a curse word, whereas the film equivalent (which would be a beep, I guess) just won’t work.

    A few years ago, I did some promotional work on the video game adaptation of the other solo Wolverine movie. The movie of course was garbage as we all know. But the game was a completely different story. It was a lot of fun and had a lot of fans saying that it was the best portrayal of Wolverine they’d seen outside of comics. While a lot of the game’s story had to follow the awful movie, the game itself was M Rated (gaming’s equivalent of an R). Wolverine dismembered enemies, decapitated enemies and blood actually sprayed. The coolest example was in the healing mechanic. When playing as Wolverine, damage to your character showed as pretty gruesome wounds that would heal over time. You could get to the point where Wolvie is slicing baddies to pieces while his ribs stuck out from the grisled remains of his chest. After playing that game, I can honestly say that a heavily R rated Wolverine movie, assuming it had a good script and director etc, could be the most amazingly bad ass thing on screen for whatever year it came out. In fact, I find it very distracting in the PG13 movies when Wolverine stabs someone with his eight inch (or whatever) long claws and there isn’t a drop of blood to be found anywhere.

    I guess this is sort of a tough call for filmmakers. Wolverine is a character that appeals to too many people who can’t technically get into the theater to see an R rated movie, so instead we get these movies which feel (to me, at least) as if you’re already seeing the network television edit when you’re in the theater.

    I’m sure that a long dissertation could be written about how we’ve reached a point where our childrens’ heroes are simply too “adult” and violent to be accurately adapted into a film that the children can actually see.

  50. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 3rd, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Shit, I’ve changed my gravatar to a picture of Wolverine, watched some old X-Men films, read some comics and I’ve still not been able to get out to see this film. Glad that it has had a good review from Vern and company, I have wanted to see this more than any other summer movie.

    About the lack of ultra violence, I never understood why Wolverine does not fight robots in the movies. You could easily get away with him ripping terminator skeletons to bits instead of fleshy human meat bags. Didn’t that work for Genndy Tartakovsky who did the Samurai Jack cartoon? He had some crazy fighting in that, but everything that got put to the sword was a machine or monster.

    Hoping to see this soon.

  51. Ace – reminds me of how a gunshot to the head, brain splattering every way gets you an automatic R rating.

    But instead of human and red blood, its aliens with black/purple blood instead you can get away with the PG-13 rating. (see THE AVENGERS.)

  52. So Wolverine’s creator Lein Wein liked the movie. He also revealed 3 facts.

    (1) DC pays artists/writers more than Marvel for characters they created when they’re used in a movie.
    (2) TW was the first movie with Wolverine that Wein was actually paid to use that character.
    (3) He’s actually made more money from Lucius Fox being used in the [redacted] movies than Wolverine at the movies, which I don’t understand because he didn’t create Fox but its what he said.


  53. RRA – He’s actually made more money from Lucius Fox being used in the [redacted] movies than Wolverine at the movies, which I don’t understand because he didn’t create Fox but its what he said

    Actually he did co-create Lucius Fox back in the 70’s.

  54. Broddie – OK thanks for the clarification, I was using Wikipedia and for whatever reason, his name didn’t show up there.

  55. Seen it! Finally got a babysitter and got out to see The Wolverine. I really enjoyed it. I even quite liked the big silver machine at the end. The way it moved around reminded me of Cain from Robocop 2.

    I was hoping for more ninja fighting though.

  56. Yeah, I thought they dropped the ball on the whole ninja thing. I thought it was going to be like a bloodless version of NINJA ASSASSIN, with super-powered ninjas leaping all over the place and riddling everything with hundreds of shuriken.

    I didn’t dislike the robo-samurai as much as some people seemed to, although I would have much preferred a regular guy with an adamantium sword and armour.

  57. CH – True, of course TW was a better movie than NA but that’s a given.

  58. So Darren Aronofsky saw the movie finally, and he tweeted:

    “Just saw #TheWolverine–blown away by @RealHughJackman-Mangold’s work. Masterful storytelling-complete emotional commitment. Bravo, arigato!”

    This surprises me of course considering his history with the project and that he may or may not have quit it over Fox refusing to back his vision of the project.

  59. The story at the time was that he had to give it up in order to concentrate on his family (custody battle, I believe). He couldn’t do that and film in Japan so he left the movie.

    It’s cool to see that he enjoyed Mangold’s version.

  60. Vern is correct. In fact, and I’m sorry that I can’t remember the exact place I saw this, during an interview recently Jackman specifically mentioned Aranofsky’s custody battle. I really like when directors say good things about projects they were once involved in.

  61. this is only tangentially related, but Darren Aranofsky sure drops a lot of projects doesn’t he? including a movie based on the novel FLICKER, which I recently read and would like to talk about, has anyone here by any chance read it?

    it’s about a budding film scholar in the 1960’s who rediscovers the lost films of fictional filmmaker Max Castle, a German guy who made a few silent films in the 20’s before moving to Hollywood and making B movies that were nevertheless masterpieces, he may in fact be the best filmmaker who ever lived, but he died mysteriously during WW2

    anyway as this film scholar guy digs deeper into the history of Max Castle however, he discovers there’s more going on behind the scenes, a LOT more, turns out there’s creepy subliminal messages hidden in Castle’s films and that he had ties to some sort of Religious secret society from Europe…..one that may in fact be the ones really running Hollywood and their goal is anything but entertainment

    it’s a great book and highly recommended for everyone here from me, it captures the fact that there is something sinister about Hollywood if you think about it, the way they hold so much sway over the public and just what if someone were to use that power for nefarious purposes?

    I can see why Darren Aranofsky would be drawn to it, but the book is pretty much unfilmable, which is ironic but true

  62. Aronofsky has been toying with the idea of making a “geek” movie for years. Batman: Year One (a film I still want to see made, although hopefully on a more modest budget and not as a $200 million blockbuster), Ronin, The Wolverine, that Robocop sequel.

    I think that he’s interested because he’s a fan, but because he’s a more serious filmmaker of original content, he probably never will. If anything, I think he prefers to take elements of stories, concepts and characters that he likes and incorporating them into his own works. I know that he’s a huge fan of Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue, and the influence it had on Black Swan is clear. Even that shot of Jennifer Connolly screaming underwater in the bath in Requiem For A Dream was taken directly from that film.

    To be honest, I’m fine with that. I like the kind of stuff he makes. Can’t wait for Noah.

  63. Aronofsky’s adaptation of YEAR ONE seemed pretty nuts. I’d like to see it, if only to see how enraged the comic book literalists get, but if you’re going to mess with the mythology that much why even bother with the license? Just call it THE DARK AVENGER or something. People will get what you’re trying to do.

  64. CH – I totally agree. But then again who would give him that money for that movie?

  65. RRA: Did you see the animated version of YEAR ONE? It looked great and Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon was a stroke of genius, but I thought whoever-the-fuck they got to play Batman was really flat and dull. Overall it was a good adaptation, but like a lot of these DC animated movies it tries so hard to be faithful that the story feels like a Frankenstein’s monster of stitched-together comic books.

  66. CH – I liked the YO movie, which was pretty much faithful to the book which isn’t its problem as much as the books themselves.

    Look I’m not saying YEAR ONE sucks, not trying to put it down. It’s a terrific story, an essential Batman tale. But its only pretty good, you know? It’s not “great.” It was designed as a prequel to a bigger story, and thats all that it works as really. In fact Jim Gordon is really the star here, being a badass and having to deal with Gotham himself (with success and failure) long before he and Batman become buddies. I always loved that scene (as recreated in the movie) where his kid gets kidnapped, you expect then Batman to pop up and save the day as usually happens in Batman movies. Instead Gordon takes a motorcycle and goes after the rat fucks himself!

    Speaking of which, what was your thoughts on DARK KNIGHT RETURNS films? I liked them, even if to criticize them as only being pretty good does makes you stand back and look critically at that classic book itself I suppose, which I really don’t want to. Peter Weller was the one left field choice for cranky Batman gone Dirty Harry, but somehow this works because he comes off as even more psychotic by being so calm, especially the legendary “surgeon” line. I do respect them for going WATCHMEN and not “updating” the story at all. We get the long-dead Reagan, long-dead Soviet Union, long dead Laserdisc shops.

  67. Well, I love YEAR ONE. It might even be my favourite Batman comic. I consider it the definitive Batman origin story, although it is an origin story, burnened with all that entails. And I actually love the fact that so much of it is about Jim Gordon. I’ve always been fascinated with the non-superheroic side of Gotham City, all these poor assholes caught in the middle. Really liked GOTHAM CENTRAL for that reason.

    I liked the DKR films and appreciated their commitment to the retro-futuristic aesthetic, synth soundtrack and everything. It was balls nasty, and Peter Weller was a great Batman. But I don’t think DKR has held up all that well. A lot of the satire seems embarassingly clumsy and dated. Plus I hate the way Miller portrays Superman. Something Miller does in DKR and has only gotten worse with, is turning other superheroes into dumbasses to make Batman seem smarter and more of a badass. When they quoted DKR at the BATMAN VS SUPERMAN announcement I rolled my eyes because that’s the last place I want them looking for inspiration. And seeing Miller’s later output makes me wonder if it’s the smart satire people give it credit for being.

    Also, it could have easily been compressed into a single two-hour film, but then they wouldn’t have been able to double-dip for DVD sales.

  68. I agree with you 100%, Crustacean.

    Even though it’s a classic, I never liked Miller’s take on Superman. The Dark Knight Strikes Again was even worse. Year One is my favourite Batman story, though. I love the dual storylines of Bruce and Gordon, love how simple and effective a tale it really is. The animated movie was okay, but felt a little rushed. They didn’t allow the story to breathe. The characters didn’t have any time to just “simmer”, if you know what I mean, and it affected the drama and tension of the storytelling.

    I think that is a problem with being too faithful to the source material. When you don’t allow the film to build its own momentum and find its own feet, you run the risk of your movie being nothing more than a visual interpretation of the book, rather than a film that can stand on its own.

    A few good examples of this would be the movie adaptation of Orwell’s 1984 (the one with John Hurt) and also John Hillcoat’s version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. They’re not bad films, not at all, but it just feels like they had nothing to contribute, like there was no point in turning those stories into movies in the first place. Hell, that’s the last thing you want when adapting a book into cinematic form.

  69. I think DKR is one of the retrospectively most embarrassing examples of the “Dark and gritty” trend in late 80s comics. It’s just filled with juvenile, faux-intellectual horseshit which would look more natural doodled on high school note margins than in a vaunted classic published in a handsome special edition and spoken about reverently by major artists. However, while people nearly always overestimate Miller’s intellectual depth, one thing that people underestimate about Miller is his sharp storytelling and striking artwork. While you’re actually reading it, it works pretty well, and that’s a tribute to his abilities as a writer, if not a thinker.

  70. I was not crazy about THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS either

    it’s no WATCHMEN, that’s for sure

  71. Frank Miller is a (sometimes) brilliant storyteller. His best work to me is his work on Daredevil. That shit is seriously good, even if I am not the biggest comicbook fan. But sometimes, like THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK he seriously fails at entertaining me in any way and then I start to think he is a hack.

  72. I don’t think THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS makes other heroes look clumsy at the expense of Batman at all. Oliver Queen who is basically a Bruce Wayne ripoff is portrayed just as competent as Batman for example. Carrie Kelly/Robin is also somebody who is treated with great respect as she evolves from fan girl to full blown vigilante and in the context of this being a mid 80’s comic did a lot for stronger teenage female portrayals in comic books in retrospect.

    The Superman thing is simple to understand in context. The way Miller viewed that story is “what would happen to the golden age Batman and Superman if they were placed within the scope of the 80’s at an older age”. Golden Age Superman was somebody who stood up for the oppressed and battered. He’d take on wife beaters, gangsters and corrupt politicians with the same conviction. He then evolved into someone who was stopping the japanese and the nazi’s during WWII while standing up for the US government and blindly supporting their policies while going further away from who he used to be, someone who questioned government policies if he had to. So I didn’t find it too far fetched for this version of Superman would become a government tool later on in his life. The precedent was already there.

    I think one important element that everybody forgets since they’re so damn distracted by “OMG BATMAN IS PUNCHING SUPERMAN” is that the beating represents the one true friend of Superman, Batman beating enough sense into him with the help of Green Arrows kryptonite arrow to remind of who he used to be and what he really used to stand for.

    This is why Superman visiting the grave at the end and winking is so important. It’s acknowledgement that not only does he know Batman is still alive but that Batman is also staying as true to the original principals of Golden Age Superman as he possibly can and in a way that kind of reinspires Superman as well. It makes him take a good look in the mirror.

    Now I like Shoot I do think Miller’s DAREDEVIL is his greatest superhero work. It’s the reason DD is right up there with Batman and Superman to me and along with Spidey is my favorite of all the Marvel heroes. But TDKR does deserve the praise it gets. It was a very ambitious and overall sensible conclusion to the 2 icons of the DC Golden Age and definitely still stands as a great story when you view it that way.

  73. Just saw a preview screening of Aronofsky’s NOAH. It was like a real dour LORD OF THE RINGS film, in a way. Also, it features rock giants.

  74. I’m just looking foreward to the debate about the book vs the movie.

  75. Yeah, I could overhear folks complaining. I love the studying the Old Testament, so I was kind of baffled by some of Aronofsky’s choices (he throws some Abraham/Isaac stuff in there to liven things up on the ark, but it didn’t work for me). The rock giants reminded me of the talking trees in Lord of the Rings mixed with that rock dude from Return to Oz. A very strange choice. I think the apocryphal Book of Enoch could’ve filled in some of the narrative gaps better than what Aronofsky came up with. Also, no naked Noah.

  76. Gentlemen and two or three ladies, I have come to sing the praises of the THE WOLVERINE: UNRATED EXTENDED CUT. I noted in my original comments that my main beef with the movie, which I enjoyed, was that the PG-13 hampered my ability to enjoy Logan’s berserker rages. This is no longer a problem. We see blades enter flesh, remove limbs, toss triple arcs of blood across the screen, etc. The harder footage is integrated well into the movie and doesn’t feel like an EXPENDABLES 2 “Draw a bunch of blood splatters in MS Paint because the internet complained” situation. This is clearly the way the film was originally shot, and the action feels much more fluid with this material added back in.

    But this is not a case of merely restoring a few lost frames that the MPAA, in their infinite wisdom, decided were too hardcore for the average contemporary 13-year-old who has seen roughly 187 million times more blood and guts in one episode of THE WALKING DEAD in the comfort of his own home. There are entire new scenes added that flesh out the characters, their dynamics, and the world of the movie. Yukio gets to tell Logan “Don’t be a dick” and have it be super charming. Good stuff.

    But that’s par for the course for a director’s cut, since the interesting bits of connecting tissue are the first things to hit the cutting room floor when America’s precious wittle attention span needs to be protected against even the faintest whiff of momentary boredom. What makes this cut exceptional are the TWO ENTIRELY NEW ACTION SCENES, including the best one in the movie. (Arguably. That train scene is pretty rad.) Remember in the theatrical cut how it looks like Logan is about to have a huge snowbound battle with a hundred ninjas and then they just shoot him with arrows and it’s a cool idea but it’s still kind of a letdown? Do you think you would enjoy that scene more if, before that happened, he sliced up like 30 dudes and then the ninjas rode dirt bikes on the rooftops and then Yukio stole a Snowcat and mulched a bunch of ninjas with the blades and sprayed blood all over the place like a Troma movie and then Wolverine lit his cigar with a massive ninja-killing explosion while striking a badass pose? I figured you would, because you seem like the type of person who likes things that are all kinds of awesome. I have no idea why anyone would cut this scene out of a motion picture, unless the combo of ninja-mulching and tobacco-product-using was simply too much for PG-13 to bear. They still should have found a way to keep the dirt bikes, though. You got ninjas on dirt bikes in your movie, they STAY in the movie.

    Also Logan drops at least three F-bombs in this cut. Add it to his one line in FIRST CLASS and he is now rivaling Blade as cinema’s most potty-mouthed superhero. Jackman is such a wholesome-seeming fellow that it’s satisfying how good he is at cursing.

    This is definitely an R-rated motion picture. Not up to the self-conscious “They can only give us the R once so we might as well earn it, right?” levels of a faux-grindhouse MACHETE-type movie, but it’s hard enough that you don’t feel like your tender eyeballs are being coddled like they’re a couple of babies who would cry if they saw Logan really stab that guy. It feels like a movie for adults. Not particularly mature adults, but who among us is one of those anyway?

    In conclusion, purchase THE WOLVERINE: UNRATED “DON’T BE A DICK” EDITION. It’s an improvement over the theatrical version in every conceivable way.

  77. Having used the Neveldine/Taylor viewing method (play the dvd at 1.5x speed with subtitles) to consume most of the PG-13 paradox that is the bloodless ANGRY GUY WITH STABBY SKELETAL EXTENSIONS GETS IN A BUNCH OF SWORDFIGHTS: THE MOVIE, it’s nice to hear there is a real WOLVERINE action film out there that might deserve my full attention.

    Regardless of whether they get the R-upgrade, the train sequence and that complex, ridiculous self-surgery fight scene are fantastic 2013 cinema highlights.

  78. It really sounds like you’re fucking with me, Majestyk, as what you’re describing sounds like REAL wolverine movie I have been waiting for my whole life.

    The fact that this THE WOLVERINE: NOT FOR BABIES EDITION even needs to exist is thoroughly stupid. It seems like Fox could carve out a niche for themselves by making lower-budget, harder-edged superhero films as a contrast to Disney’s PG-13 parade of spectacle. But maybe that’s not possible, I dunno how these licensing agreements work.

  79. I don’t know enough about the comics to know if it’s the real deal or not, but I think it’s a pretty awesome action movie. I hope it’s what you’re looking for.

  80. Dirtbike ninjas getting pulped by heavy machinery would definitely fall under the category of “the real deal”. I shall report back with my findings once I am through with THE RAID 2, NOAH, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, etc.

  81. I don’t want to overstress its awesomeness. It’s still basically the same film, with the same basic flaws. (The climax, in particular, feels undercooked, and I’m still not 100% what all the characters were hoping to accomplish through their machinations.) And the violence is not wall-to-wall nor all that hardcore, really. It’s a very light R, the kind they used to make when a film’s rating wasn’t that big a deal and they threw in some blood and fuckwords because it was appropriate to the story and they weren’t worried about missing out on all those middle-schoolers’ lunch money. It’s just a bit more than you’re used to in a not-subverting-the-genre superhero movie and it gives it a more adult feel. Don’t go in expecting DREDD or anything.

    Also I may have imagined the “blood flies in triple rainbow arcs across the screen” thing. Blood does fly occasionally but it’s not that stylized.

  82. Nice. I enjoyed the theatrical release, despite its obvious flaws, but I was really put out with the wussy non-battle with the 100 ninjas, so I’m going to have to check this version out.

  83. What is it with superhero movies thinking it’s okay to skip the ninja battle?

  84. Mr. Majestyk – I hate to say this but blame the MPAA, not Fox.

    Why? Because it was recently revealed that THE AVENGERS was originally rated R and they had to go back several times to finally get that PG-13.

    Of all fucking movies to get an R….Poor Logan never stood a chance.

  85. THE AVENGERS a fucking R rating!? the MPAA are ridiculous fucking prudes these days, they’d probably give a movie featuring a PORKY’S style shower scene in this day and age an NC-17 rating

  86. Griff – I think this era of the PG-13-wholesale has dulled the industry edges. Contrast that to when we were younger, when the R rating was quite regular and now its the exception. In a way we’re sorta back to the old pre-MPAA ratings days when you had a generally accepted sense of what you can do and can’t do. Like now a F-bomb is acceptable for a PG-13, as long as its not uttered in a sexual reference like “Fuck your mother!” but instead just a more “fuck it!”

    I still don’t understand the MPAA sometimes. Usually dicks get NC-17, yet SCARY MOVIE with its infamous Glory Hole scene got a R rating. TITANIC had boobs yet it got PG-13. I don’t get it.

    Here’s an article about the whole AVENGERS/R-rating situation.


  87. Come on, I don’t think it’s fair to blame the MPAA for the de-clawing of THE WOLVERINE. Fox could have released an R-rated Wolverine film if they wanted to, but instead they threw their dirtbike ninjas under the bus in the chase for that sweet PG-13 money.

  88. “I still don’t understand the MPAA sometimes. Usually dicks get NC-17, yet SCARY MOVIE with its infamous Glory Hole scene got a R rating. TITANIC had boobs yet it got PG-13. I don’t get it.”

    well TITANIC was still 90’s and SCARY MOVIE was 2000, I’d say the MPAA didn’t start to get really prudish until over the last, I don’t know, 10 years or so?

    but seriously though, when was the last time you saw full frontal female nudity in a comedy? (last I can think of is ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, which was still over 5 years ago) the most they can away with is some brief tit shots, I can guarantee you, in fact I’d bet money, that if a movie showed you extended full frontal nudity in a non “arty” context, that shit would get slapped with an NC-17 rating

    maybe it all started much longer than 10 years ago, maybe it really started with that SHOWGIRLS flick, which certainly had a lot of nudity and sex scenes, but it’s not like it was an actual porno movie, was it really something that needed to be NC-17? and now it seems like they’ve only been getting pruder and pruder since

    it just irritates the shit out of me because of how useless it is in the age of ubiquitous internet porn, I mean you’re really gonna try to scrub naked bodies from movies when any 5 year old with his mom’s ipad can look up God knows what?

  89. CrustaceanLove – Name R-rated comic book movies that have made money. You might name SIN CITY. You might name the 300 movies. But notice those 3 have something in common besides Frank Miller: No superheroes.

    R-rated superhero movies tend to flop. DREDD? Flop. WATCHMEN? Flop. PUNISHER: WAR ZONE? Flop.

    I think Hollywood still thinks these superhero movies are still for children, you know to sell lunchboxes and shit. Why cut out your target audience?

  90. RRA: What do I care how much money the film makes? I’m not a Fox shareholder. I just want more of the kinds of movies I like, and I liked all those superhero flops you listed. They all make honest attempts to capture the spirit of the source material and their don’t-give-a-fuck R-ratings are an essential part of that. I don’t know how you could look at, say, DREDD and say they made “wrong” decision. They were losers financially, but as far as I’m concerned it was money well spent. I get the reality of filmmaking as a business, but at the end of the day I just want good movies.

  91. CrustaceanLove – Whoa buddy quit projecting into my words something that I didn’t say at all.

    You asked why Fox didn’t release TW with a R-rating, and I gave the explaination for why. I never said that that’s a good thing, its just….reality.

    Maybe someday that situation will change, but for right now….

  92. RRA: Nah, I know why they did it, I just don’t see why the MPAA are to blame. They maybe be weirdly inconsistent in some ways, but I think we all have a pretty good idea about what awesome shit needs to get excised to hit that PG-13 sweet spot. Fox were willing to sacrifice dirtbike ninjas on the altar of greed… the MPAA were just doing their job.

    And I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, but I’m sick of box-office-obsessed nerdlingers (again, not you) who justify the pussification of cinema by saying “well, they HAVE to make it PG-13 just to break even”. Well shit, if they’re that strapped for cash maybe their small-scale Wolverine action movie didn’t need to have a giant robot fight at the end that nobody asked for. Less robots, more ninjas.


  93. I just wonder whatever happened to the days when R ratings were simply suggestions and it was up to the parents to decide whether or not an R rated movie was still ok to bring their kids to, if it was TERMINATOR 2 type R rated or BASIC INSTINCT R rating

    it seems like that was the assumption Hollywood made, that a bunch of under 17 people might see an R rated movie anyway because their legal guardian let them, now they seem to assume that if it’s R rated absolutely, positively no one under 17 would be seeing it, why? are parents really such pussies these days that they wont let their kids see a single R rated movie? are kids these days really only watching shit like THE SMURFS?

    it must be horrible to be a kid these days, I feel sorry for them

    maybe modern Hollywood is just greedier than in the past, thinking to themselves “yeah TERMINATOR 2 made money but imagine how much MORE money it could have made if it was PG-13” just one of the many reasons why modern Hollywood sucks shit through a straw I guess (all in all just another brick in the wall, if you will)

  94. I think a lot of it comes to the inexplicably gigantic cost of movies these days. A lot of those old R-rated summer action flicks came pretty modestly — First Blood, Lethal Weapon 2, Predator, and Robocop were about $15 million each, while non-summer hits like Lethal Weapon 1 and Terminator were under $7 million. Even the expensive ones – The Untouchables, Die Hard, Conan the Barbarian – were in the $20-$30 million range.

    Nowadays, comedies are pretty cheap if they can stick at around $40 million. The Hangover cost $45 million; by the third one it had inflated to over $100 million. Grown-ups 2 cost $80 million.

    The Wolverine, despite being a relatively small-scale action film, cost $120 million to make. Once marketing and the theaters’ takes are taken into account, it needed to make around $350 million to break even. At that level of risk, I can at least understand why the studios would want to try to minimize losses by trimming a few bits. The fact that those bits apparently made it a lower quality film (reducing word-of-mouth) and that the X-Men series, being over a decade old, is going to be largely comprised of fans either over 18 or with parents who are into it, don’t factor in their thinking, apparently.

    I liked Wolverine, but I really don’t understand why it needed to cost that much money. I mean, I can guess where that money went (there’s probably 800-1200 effects shots, for one thing), but I don’t think there was any need for it to cost that. But anyway, that’s probably your main problem there.

  95. JJ – but remember that TOTAL RECALL was the most expensive movie ever produced when it came out. And then Arnold’s next movie after that was of course TERMINATOR 2, which then became the most expensive film ever and the first to carry the $100 million pricetag if I remember right. (Wow talk about a whole other world.) Anyway both were still rated R and both still made a shitload of money.

    It just was a different time, place, and culture.

  96. “Nowadays, comedies are pretty cheap if they can stick at around $40 million. The Hangover cost $45 million; by the third one it had inflated to over $100 million. Grown-ups 2 cost $80 million.”

    don’t comedies like THE HANGOVER and GROWN UPS cost that much because of the inflated salaries they pay the unfunny shitheads that star in them?

    “It just was a different time, place, and culture.”

    and a much better time, place and culture at that, God almighty, can you imagine what today’s kids taste are going to be like when they’re adults after being raised on garbage like THE SMURFS? just imagine the shit movie going audiences will pay to see if they’ve been raised on fucking THE SMURFS, that kind of shit terrifies me

  97. Griff – Eh I hate to say this but to completely say that back then was greater is pure nostalgia tinted. Some things back then are cool that I wish was back, like the prevalency of R-rated popcorn movies outside of comedies.

    But there are things today that I prefer over back then. Like that Netflix is a step up from Blockbuster.

    Or the kid in me is jealous of what Marvel Studios is doing with their interlocking universe tying together different franchises. Jealous! (The Captain America movie I had back then was that terrible Albert Pyun movie.)

    Its like Baby Boomers and right wing pundits always talk about how great the 1950s were especially TV from that era….you know with the sexism/racism and ignoring political issues at that time like Civil Rights and all that. Some cool stuff came out of the 1950s like Rock n Roll or THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL or whatever. But alot of shit came out too that I’m glad is gone like Segregation.

  98. RRA: You’re right about it being a different time, of course.

    That said – 1) Total Recall and T2 were more exceptions than the rule. There were always a couple mega-budget ones in there — Rambo 2 & 3 were both over $50 million, Die Hard 2 was $70 million. Even in 90-91, the R actioners were generally under $40 mil (Another 48HRS, Robocop 2, Air America, and Predator 2 at about 35, Last Boy Scout at 29, Point Break at 24, Marked for Death, Hard to Kill, and New Jack City around 10)

    And 2) 1990 was actually around the time that first started to change, in response largely to the summer of 1989, when you suddenly had a glut of $100 million blockbusters (Batman, Last Crusade, Lethal Weapon 2, Ghostbusters 2, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Parenthood), and it seemed like those gargantuan budgets actually had a shot at making money. Total Recall, Die Hard 2, and T2 as a combination proved that.

    As you say, the times shifted, for a number of reasons. But I think the lower budgets were a huge part of why the studios had so little fear of an R rating.

    Griff — the actors’ salaries are a huge part of it, but that doesn’t explain most of the money for the first Hangover – Bradley Cooper got $600k, and I doubt his co-stars got more. I think they got $5 million each on the second one and $15 each for the third one, though. I remember Soderbergh talking about that somewhere — the studios honestly don’t know how to make a movie for less than $30 million; smaller movies are generally either independents or the independent arms of the studios (Fox Searchlight, etc.).

  99. RRA – what I meant is it was a better time for movies at least

  100. Griff – I seem to remember the MST3K folks complaining about how when they made their movie that the studio people (if I remember right) basically took a big chunk of the budget for themselves in the name of “development.” In fact they even did an episode making fun of that whole ordeal.

    Remember that when Mario Puzo came to Paramount to collect his promised contractual box-office points on THE GODFATHER, Paramount told him that it didn’t break even and lost money.

    A movie that made $90 something million domestic in 1972 money.

    Its like some years back WB claimed that one of their HARRY POTTER movies lost money, I think Part V despite the fact that it made like $900 friggin something million.

  101. so basically the studios are run by crooks and enemies of art, makes sense

  102. so uh, about Bryan Singer, thoughts?

  103. It’s early days, but the accusations are pretty forceful from what I’ve read.

  104. The thing is, I’ve heard EXACTLY the same story several times before over the years. On the IMDB boards or AICN talkbacks, attributed to every gay actor, director and producer in Hollywood. Which means either the story must be true or someone decided to make some money out of an homobophic troll meme.

    I guess time will tell.

  105. Yeah, whatever it is it’s a great gift to homophobes to have this story out there. So good job, somebody. I always thought that lawsuit about a locker room scene in APT PUPIL was homophobic hysteria, it would be shitty if they were actually correct. Even though I didn’t believe it, just the suggestion did taint him in my mind because it definitely occurred to me before that Brad Renfro’s troubles and addiction happened after that movie.

    I don’t know, it sounds pretty damning, of course we don’t know the facts and can’t assume he’s guilty just because he’s been accused. I hope for the sake of the world that shit like that doesn’t really go on, but there seems to be some documentation of it (whether or not Singer is involved). I’ve heard stories kind of like this before but not related to Hollywood, it was supposedly politicians and religious leaders connected to the Reagan/Bush White House. I don’t know if that means that powerful people enjoy child sex rings or that this is an evolving urban legend.

    I have seen some claiming that they’re not surprised and everybody in Hollywood knew he did this kind of stuff. Which in my opinion is not something to brag about, if you knew about that and didn’t say anything. I mean I know about “stop snitching” and everything, but come on Hollywood.

    One thing’s for sure: watching that new X-Men movie is gonna be more emotionally complicated than I thought it would be. And if he turns out to be guilty maybe more people will join me in appreciating part 3 by Brett Ratner.

  106. yeah, it really is unfortunate when people live up to negative stereotypes

  107. and yeah, I too have noticed that to be a recurring legend, conspiracy theorists and the like, for example, always claim that a crucial component of the Illuminati or whatever is child sexual abuse and even child sacrifice

    what is it that makes people always want to assume that powerful people are always abusing children?

  108. I remember an interview with Renfro on the Bully dvd and got the impression he was in two minds about the merits of working with Clark. I thought he looked and sounded disturbed.

  109. Yeah, I take it back, if I was gonna suspect a director was a bad influence on Renfro I’d have to go with Clark! As much as I loved that movie.

  110. @Griff

    I´m pretty sure it´s because kid fucking is the darkest, tarriest, most impermeable mud that one can sling in this modern world.

  111. And I didn’t think there would ever be an X-Men director who was a bigger scumbag than Brett Ratner.

    I hope it’s not true, but, unfortunately, I have heard stories like this about Hollywood – dating all the way back to wild sex parties of the likes of Errol Flynn.

  112. Uncle Imshi, kid fucking is the darkest, tarriest, most impermeable you can do in this world!

  113. The Original... Paul

    April 19th, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Wait what? Link please?

    The guy who was responsible for “The Usual Suspects” being a pedophile… that would ruin my day. Plus, y’know, the kid’s.

    Vern: “Maybe more people will join me in appreciating part 3 by Brett Ratner.”

    Hey, even I had to admit that on watching this a second time, it wasn’t as bad as I first thought… but let’s not go overboard here.

    Griff – my childhood movie-viewing experiences included Abel Ferrara’s “Bodysnatchers: The Invasion Continues”, John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, “Die Hard” 1 and 2 (I saw #3 on DVD shortly after it came out, but I was a teenager by then), “Batman Returns” (again, I was more of a young teenager when that came out, but that’s a seriously fucked-up movie if ever there was one), “Robocop”, “The Terminator”, and “Enter the Dragon”. A lot of my favorite 18-rated films come from my childhood.

    I don’t think any of it did me any harm except maybe a few nightmares caused by “The Thing”, which I’ve talked about before. (Suffice to say, if I ever meet Wilford Brimley in person, which I’d like to do because he comes across as pretty damn awesome – and clearly the people who did “The Thing” agree with me, since he literally gets every fun thing there is to do in that movie, from destroying a room with an axe to performing an alien autopsy with a pencil – then his hand is not getting anywhere near my face.) Strangely, the only things that really affected me were “The Care Bears Movie” (I was really, really young at the time, don’t judge) and Roald Dahl’s “The Witches”. To this day I still can’t read that book. Still I’d rather have had my childhood than a “sheltered” one where I never got the chance to see just how far these things could go.

  114. Don’t worry, Paul. The sordid crimes Singer is accused if concern a 17 year old boy, an age that puts him out of the clinical range assigned to pedophilia. There’s a technical term for dudes who like to bone teenage boys but I don’t know what it is and I’m not looking it up and having it in my browser history. That’s how you get put on a list.

  115. Vern – well those people saying they “knew” about Singer, its more like rumors. I remember hearing a decade ago that he had his own casting couch, which as scummy as that allegation is, isn’t the same as rape. (Though I suppose getting sex in exchange for favors would be considered a form of rape.) Again it was an allegation and I just filed it away. Quite honestly I forgot about it until this lawsuit.

    What gets me is when one of the nerd bloggers (I think it was McWeeny) who said he was in no position to ever report it even though he was “aware” of these allegations before.

    Call me cynical, but I think that’s partly true because of you know possibly gettng sued for libel. The other part is that McWeeny doesn’t want his website to get fucked out of those interviews and other such clickbait that websites like his live and die on. Its kind a self-serving excuse, you know?

  116. I saw the extended cut last night and completely agree with Majestyk’s claim that it is better. Most specifically the Ninja Assassin Town sequence. I’m not real sure what else was added/extended, except for an action scene outside the hotel they crash in. I think that they must have added little bits here and there that made the story, characters and action sequences flow more, because I really, really enjoyed it. I liked the theatrical version, but I really, really liked this one.

    I think that they added a scene before the Ninja Assassin Town where Viper Woman gave Ninja Boy a poison to add to his arrows. He dismissed it as unnecessary because they are badass Ninjas. She tucked it into his pocket and told him to use it when he realized he was wrong. Then after he had the “oh shit” face when Wolverine healed before his eyes and while Yukio is mulching the Ninjas and Wolverine is blowing them up he’s rapidly dipping his arrows in the poison. I realized that this ties back to the beginning of the movie and the bear attack. Wolverine is the gnarly, old grizzly bear and the Ninjas have to pussy out and take him down with poison arrows. They didn’t see the beginning of the movie, though, and don’t realize they need to follow through right away and kill him before he can rip into their tent and eat their guts. Or something like that, anyway.

    After reading everyone’s comments about how they thought Wolverine and Mariko were developing into a father and daughter relationship only to be skeeved out when they slept I paid particular attention to it, because I never got that upon first viewing. I still don’t see it. Sure, they don’t have the greatest of chemistry, but I thought it was being set up as a sexual thing pretty much by the numbers of action movies. Though that could just be my biased view of – you get a chance to fuck The Wolverine, you take it. Maybe just sleep in a different bed afterwards.

  117. I rewatched the Xmen movies this week in preparation for the new one, and I decided to watch the extended edition of The Wolverine on thursday. I enjoyed it so much that I watched it again on friday. I totally agree with Majestyk here. It was like a completely different movie.

    I liked The Wolverine when I saw it in theaters, but I felt like the action scenes were hampered by confusing editing which I suspected was caused by cutting out the violence. Boy was I right. This was clearly intended to be R-rated. And it works much better as an R-rated film. Pacing is much better, the action scenes are very thrilling and easy to follow, and it really felt more the like a classic action movie that it was trying to be. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite Xmen movie now.

    And Days of Future Past is really damn good too. That one might actually be my favorite in the series, but I need to sit with it for a while and maybe watch it one more time to be sure. Can’t wait to see what Vern thinks of it. I think Vern’s review of X2 is one of his best pieces of writing because it’s basically a love-letter to Mystique. She’s pretty badass in this new one, though I still think I prefer her portrayal by Rebecca Romaine Lettuce in the first three films.

    I will say this, Days of Future Past clearly has the best action sequences of just about any superhero movie so far. They are all very well staged and executed, never confusing or overly chaotic, and they are very clever about the way they integrate everybody’s superpowers. I would give it an Action Comprehensibility Rating of 4.5.

    I just say Days of Future Past last night, but I may see it one more time before this 3 day weekend is over.

  118. Really liked DOFP as well. Biggest surprise for me is how the character everyone thought was going to be the drizzling shits, Quicksilver, is one the pure highlights of the movie.Really distracted by how much the guy playing young Stryker looked like Sean William Scott though.

  119. Stu – as I said elsewhere, I won’t go too much into my thoughts on the film until Vern reviews the movie. (WINK, WINK.) But I’ll comment on this. This was a very good movie. On par with TWS for the most part, but I think I gave DOFP the edge if only because of the ending. First CBM in awhile where I wasn’t spoiled one way or another thanks to the Internet. Anyway that ending gave me a big smile that was worth the price of admission alone.

    Plus it made my 10:00pm thursday night screening crowd clap 3 different times. You know which ones I’m probably talking about. (or not, can’t wait to discuss this when Vern reviews this shit. WINK, WINK. You got the hint yet, Vern?)

    Oh and that one particular joke…most curious reaction. You’ll know which one I’m talking about. Unlike the other intended gags in the movie, the audience didn’t laugh initially. But a third of my crowd once they went from “wait what? What’s the punchline” to “oh WAIT!” and then laughed with everybody else whispering WTF is so funny and then more whispers explaining it.

  120. Do you mean Wolverine being surprised by something? Yeah, that got a bit of a delayed laugh.

  121. “Really distracted by how much the guy playing young Stryker looked like Sean William Scott though.”

    Yes! I kept thinking the same thing. I just hope he found his car.


    ““You can control metal? My mom knew someone who could do that.”


  123. I’m sure it’s because of raised/lowered expectations, but I thought this movie was terrible and I preferred Origins. Seriously. Origins is no masterpiece, but it’s fun and campy, with awesome action sequences and a kind of delirious embracing of it’s own stupidity. I can’t seriously defend any movie where the villain manually types in “DECAPITATE” to the killer mutant under his control, but I’ll say it’s alot more fun than the slog that is The Wolverine. The idea of a mostly mutant-less side-story is fine. I like the balls of having Jackman as literally the only star in a big summer movie. Some shots are pretty good. But man, the convoluted plot was so confusing and uninvolving I can’t believe this wasn’t written by Orci/Kurtzman.

    Why is he now this lonely warrior whose immortality is a curse like a vampire or a Highlander or something? He shouldn’t have any memories before 1979(or about as many memories as someone my age has). Don’t ask why he can now suddenly remember shit that happened to him in WWII. Why does his adamantium seem to be the source of his re-generating power now? (The robot was sucking adamantium out of his bones at the end, not his mutant powers, right? And Wolvie says some shit about how “what THEY did can’t be reversed” when explaining why he can’t give his power to the old man.) Also, the old man ran the company into the ground because he was obsessed with immortality like Guy Pearce in Prometheus and finding adamantium, but why does he even associate Wolverine with adamantium anyway??? How would he even know it’s in his skeleton? Not to mention Wolvie didn’t even have it in WWII when he met him. What was the villain’s endgame? If just capturing Wolverine to chop off his claws and suck the adamantium/lifeforce/whatever was the plan, they had about 10 other chances to do it. Why the complicated subterfuge and twists upon twists. I still don’t get how this movie gets a pass.

    There’s no chemistry between the leads. The pacing is glacial, which wouldn’t matter if the character development was good but it isn’t. The “humor” isn’t funny, except for the time Wolverine bangs some guy’s fiancee and then yells at the guy for hanging out with strippers. The action sequences are just there. Not particularly well shot, edited, or choreographed. The bullet train sequence is fun just because it’s something we haven’t seen in a while, but it’s a scene between Wolverine and a bunch of lackeys we don’t give a shit about, and instead of being excited we’re just wondering “when are these assholes finally going to die?” Set the climax on that train with the main villains instead of a generic lab and maybe you’d have something involving.

    I know there aren’t really THAT many characters, but it feels like there’s about 3 too many, probably because none of them are interesting. Even the mutant villain is boring. The whole thing seems like a wheel-spinning waste of time – it’s like how Harry from AICN called Terminator: Salvation “the story of how John Connor got that scar on his face”, except this one is basically “the story of how Wolverine lost his metal claws, even though they’re back by the next movie”.

  124. “I’m sure it’s because of raised/lowered expectations, but I thought this movie was terrible and I preferred Origins. ”

    neal2zod – Get out.

  125. I’m with RRA on this one. Your whole post really upset me.

  126. Logan is real good, though I thought some of the violence was over the top and some of the swearing felt forced. It’s like they felt obliged to pack in as much of that stuff as possible to justify the R rating.

  127. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 5th, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    It’s not just good, it’s fucking fantastic. The buddy I saw it with also felt the swearing was forced but I didn’t even notice it, it just felt like that type of film, right from the start. Same with the gore. Funnily enough, the only thing that felt just a little forced to me was the completely unnecessary shot of the lady in the back of his limo getting her tits out. Tits in an X-Men movie – now there’s something I never thought I’d see.

    So far this year I have seen two films: John Wick 2 and Logan – sweet Jesus has there ever been a better start to a cinematic movie year?

  128. Outside of a few really great scenes and performances, I thought LOGAN was just ok. I pretty much checked out around the time (SPOILER) five back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back scenes transitioned into each other with Logan passing out, waking up, then passing out again. Final shot is an all timer though, no doubt.

  129. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 6th, 2017 at 4:06 am

    True, the pacing goes to shit a bit in the final stretch and the climax isn’t as thrilling as it could have been, but those are the only minor complaints I have about the whole thing – and they do feel minor, compared to the quality in every other aspect of this thing.

    OK, and I kinda wish Jon Bernthal would’ve played Boyd Holbrook’s part. Almost feels like they could’ve taken his character out of THE ACCOUNTANT, added just a slightly more sadistic edge and then inserted him here.

  130. None of The Wolverine films ended particularly thrillingly, action wise, it’s true – but LOGAN’s ending, emotionally, I found incredibly satisfying.

    (Hey, I finally caught THE ACCOUNTANT just yesterday and I really dug it. Bernthal is straight up great in it. I’m now a fan).

  131. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 6th, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Welcome to the club! Bernthal has been consistently great in everything I’ve seen him in since The Walking Dead and often provides the only reason for watching something (for example Snitch, season 2 of Daredevil, season 2 of The Walking Dead.) Comparing LOGAN with THE ACCOUNTANT it just seems like he does so much more with your basic main henchman role than Holbrook manages to do. In fact, they should replace Holbrook with Bernthal in THE PREDATOR as well now there’s still time!

  132. Yeah, I liked him a lot in DD S2 as ol’ Frank Castle (Oh, and I dug him in WOLF OF WALL STREET, too), but watching him make someone utterly vile so charming and eventually so human in THE ACCOUNTANT, made me think, here’s a guy who can pretty much do anything.

  133. Do you really want that character to be charming and sympathetic, though? He wasn’t just a smug sadist, he was a soulless corporate douchebag. Bernthal’s got more humanity in his endearingly busted nose than that character does in his entire enhanced body. It would be a waste of Bernthal’s talents to have to turn all that off.

  134. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 6th, 2017 at 8:59 am

    I feel like Bernthal is good enough to make that part sing (or any part really), even if he was just playing a completely unsympathetic character. Or at least provide something a little less bland than what Holbrook did with the part.

  135. The Undefeated Gaul

    March 6th, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Anyways, it’s really not that big of a deal – just a bit of fun fantasy casting.

  136. Seems like I’m going to have to be the grump with LOGAN then. Sorry in advance.
    -I still lean towards positive and it got the job done though

  137. geoffreyjar – I’ll be right there being a mean old grump with you even though I also thought it was fine enough and not terrible by any means.

  138. And I’ll have some incredibly brilliant and incisive criticism of the ending to share.

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