Movie Review: The Wolverine

After watching The Wolverine, I’m starting to doubt my power to give any superhero movie a fair review. Am I that biased? Have decades of reading comic books left me unable to separate the good from the garbage? I mean, yes, I loved Dark Knight Rises. Like, I really, really, really loved Dark Knight Rises. But I thought Daredevil was pretty cool. And Thor. And Iron Man 3. And Spider-Man 3. And X-Men 3.

the wolverine

And The Wolverine. I was watching that movie in the theater, sitting there, thinking to myself, man, this is a pretty cool movie. Pretty badass. Even when Wolverine got escorted through security, and the guards are waving the metal detectors all over his body, and all of the readings are off, you know, he’s got that metal skeleton and everything, and he says, “hip replacement,” I was like, well, OK, yeah, that’s kind of cheesy, but it’s still OK. I mean, yeah, he does have a metal skeleton and I’m sure that’s got to be annoying after a while, constantly trying to explain himself.

And then much later in the movie when he’s trying to get through airport security and the machine’s going nuts, and he’s just like, “I want the pat-down,” it’s like, really? Two metal detector jokes? But maybe it’s not a joke, maybe they’re just really driving home the point that, if you had a metal skeleton, this is what you’d have to deal with on a regular basis, deal with it. And that’s kind of like a really hard directorial trick, right? Like getting us really inside the character’s head?

But I’m jumping ahead. It starts in the woods somewhere. The Wolverine is sleeping outside, not like in a tent or anything, but just right outside. And he’s got a severe case of PTSD. But that’s OK too, because he’s sworn off killing, a solemn vow as he calls it. Except, there’s this guy in the woods who shoots this bear that the Wolverine has befriended, and that kind of sets him off, like it’s just the right offense to make him forget his solemn vow.

But that’s kind of believable, I mean, if I were living in the woods by myself, with a big beard and long hair, and a stupid little radio that runs on size D batteries, batteries that kept dying way too fast, so fast that I’d have to walk all the way into town and buy just one two-pack of batteries and then walk all the way back to the woods, and my only friend was a bear, and somebody shot my friend, I guess I’d be pissed. Yeah, that makes sense.

We’re out of the woods soon enough. The Wolverine’s got some business to attend to in Japan. Some guy that the Wolverine saved from the atom bomb in Nagasaki wants to say thank you, and goodbye, and also, sit still for a second so I can steal your healing powers, please. The whole rest of the movie takes place in Japan, showing off everything as Japanese as you might imagine: ninjas, samurais, secret orders of the black clan, marrying the Minister of Justice to help out with your family’s honor, getting scolded for leaving your chopsticks sticking out of your bowl of rice. It’s all very authentic. And very picturesque too.

In the comics, Wolverine does spend some time in Japan, and he winds up getting involved with a woman named Mariko. I only mention this because, when you see Mariko and Wolverine suddenly fall in love, the only reason that makes sense as to where the out-of-nowhere mutual attraction arose from is, well, it happened in the comics, so there you go, it’s happening in this movie also. But whatever, it’s love at first sight. That’s no reason to criticize a movie. In fact, it’s just another added dimension to the film. Look at me, I’m practically a romantic over here, gushing about true love.

There’s some blond villain named Viper. It’s one of those names that she kind of gives herself while she does this speech explaining her powers, more or less, “I possess the ability to manufacture any type of poison. Also, I’m immune to every class of venom. I guess you could say I’m a … Viper.” And it just takes off, because soon random Japanese people are referring to her as capital V Viper in their English subtitles.

But I can’t knock it. That’s her name, it’s Viper. That’s who she is. Who am I to judge her name, how she dresses? Hell, if I were a blond super villain named Viper, I’d probably only wear green also. Like green leather pants, and green tank tops. And then green dresses later on, and green eye shadow. That’s her thing, she wears green, like a snake, like a green viper. And she has that viper tongue, it’s always like slithering out of her mouth. She’s like a snake lady.

And then, I don’t know, there’s fighting and stuff. And there’s some sort of a plan to kidnap a granddaughter to trick the son, who in turn is using the fiancé, all in an effort to get back at the grandfather, I think. And the Wolverine is there. And he does this crazy fight scene on top of a three hundred mile per hour train.

It’s awesome! That’s probably all that it is, it’s just a truly great movie. I’m here doubting my reviewing skills, but it’s not me, it’s not me just blindly slapping a seal of approval on all projects Marvel. No, The Wolverine must have been a truly amazing movie. Some things don’t need to make sense. Or some things probably do make sense, it’s just my fault for not really getting them. Like when the Viper lady gets stabbed in the heart and dies, why is she able to peel off her skin and restart her pulse? I don’t know, it’s probably some really technical snake ability that I don’t get.

Whatever, superhero movies are the best. I could watch The Wolverine like three more times, today, and I’d still be entertained. Just keep them coming. Like man, I hope they make a Daredevil 2. Or even better, a Spider-Man 3 2. Maybe they could do a crossover, Spider-Man 3 Vs. Daredevil. That would be pretty sick. Even though Michael Clark Duncan probably won’t get to be Kingpin again, because he died.

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