Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Movie Review: Wolverine

I actually got to see another movie in an actual movie theater, and this time I didn’t have to go to the bathroom three times during it! (Sorry Iron Man 3).

Wolverine is not the movie I wanted to see Saturday night. I had my heart set on Pacific Rim, but really there was no way I was going to make it the late show  (Sorry Charlie Hunnam’s shirtless body, but I have an internal curfew. I probably would’ve fallen asleep anyway) so we chose The Wolverine as a sort of compromise. And for the most part, I enjoyed myself.

It was a roller coaster ride, which is what I want in my action movies. I could argue that the that the ending was telegraphed from the very beginning, which it was, and it was a pretty predictable ending at that, but the journey getting there was fun, mostly because of the characters and the performances that got delivered.

Because most of the cast was pretty awesome. Yes, we could talk about Hugh Jackman, but we know what we’re going to get from him in terms of performance. That’s why I bought my ticket. But it was the side performances that really shined. I mean, every time I see Will Yun Lee in anything, I continue to enjoy him even more, especially when he’s an unbelievable bastard. Come on, he outclassed most everybody in Red Dawn (which yes, with Josh Peck in the cast, wasn’t hard to do), and *spoiler alert* he delivered in what I knew was going to be a pretty one-note role in this movie too. He was sometimes the most interesting part in this, especially when it became clear what fate had in store for him.

But even better than him were some of the female performances in this. Mariko started out a thankless role. Yes please, try to kill yourself in your second scene in the movie and then run away to your family home that most people will assume you’ve gone in your fourth scene. That’s how you win friends and influence people, really. But then somehow she grew on me. She didn’t shrink away from conflict the way I thought she might. On the whole, I really enjoyed her.

The absolute stand out for me was Rila Fukushima as Yukio. She was simultaneously vulnerable yet fierce in ways I didn’t think were possible. She was teasing out all this emotion and hinting at all these depths within the character one moment and then having one of the most badass Samauri sword battles in closed quarters I’d ever seen the next. That takes talent. And I hope Hollywood takes notice and puts her in more things, or somebody has the god damned audacity to make Yukio the movie, because based on her performance alone, I’d plunk down hard earned money to see that.

But for all the performances that I did enjoy there were just as many that annoyed me to no end. I love Famke Janssen and have sense Love and Sex for crying out loud and I also loved her as Jean Grey, but her reprisal of the role was thoroughly unnecessary. It added nothing to the story itself and came off as very hackneyed and cloying. If you’re going to have Famke Janssen in a movie, make her useful, instead of just a passing fancy in The Wolverine’s head, fercryingoutloud.

The worst offender though was the role of Viper. I wrote on twitter the other day that Uma Thurman called and she wanted her performance and wardrobe as Poison Ivy back. And I stick by that. Viper was just a thin impersonation of Poison Ivy and one that wasn’t very enjoyable at that. *Spoiler Alert again* Thank god Yukio cut her head off, I was getting tired of her and if she showed up in another movie I was going to have to give up on the whole X-Men franchise altogether.

But on the whole it really did work, despite my bitching. It was well-paced, the action was fun, there were ninjas, and swords, and yakuza, three things I enjoy immensely in my movies. So, what I’m trying to say is, you could do worse. B

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