Thursday, August 1, 2013


I know for a fact that I read the very first WOLVERINE four-issue mini-series published by Marvel Comics way back in 1982. The series was written by Chris Claremont with art by Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein. But that's all I can remember. I cannot recall any of what happened in that story. After all, it was thirty-one years ago.

I mention that bit of personal history trivia as a bit of background for my thoughts on THE WOLVERINE (which I saw on opening day). I've read that the plot of this current film is based (albeit somewhat loosely) on that mini-series, but for the life of me, I couldn't begin to tell you if it's anywhere near an accurate, faithful adaptation of that material.

That's primarily because, to be honest with you, I'm not all that big of a fan of Wolverine or any of the current incarnations of the X-Men and their assorted spin-offs, teams, one-shots, mini-series and solo ongoing series. There's just way too much X material out there for me to bother keeping up and I haven't done so for a number of years. I quit reading X-Men related comics shortly after I read that Wolverine mini-series way back when.

There may be some good stuff out there that I'm missing out on but I just don't have the desire to invest the time and energy (and money) to find out. Besides, my X-Men will always be the original team: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, The Angel and a non-blue-furred Beast. Oh, and Professor X, of course.

That said, I must confess that I've seen all of the X-Men films produced to date. Why? I dunno. I guess it's that I'm so thrilled to finally be able to see major motion pictures based on comic book characters and see them done right (for the most part), that I feel compelled to support as many of these films as I can. After all, I've waited more than forty-years to see these films and comic book geek that I am, I can't not embrace them in some way.

So, THE WOLVERINE. Here's the short (pardon the pun) version: it's not as bad as the last Wolverine movie which I thought was dreadful. But it's not a great movie either. It's a staggeringly average, mind-numbingly routine and utterly forgettable piece of filmmaking. I didn't hate it, but I sure didn't love it and now, almost a week later, there's not a whole about it that I can remember.

Hugh Jackman, as always, makes a good Logan. No problem there. The film appears to have been filmed (exterior locations at least) in Japan, so that's nice. Gives the film a nice exotic look and flavor. The supporting cast is literally a bunch of unknown (to me) Japanese actors and actresses all of whom play their parts reasonably well. There's a really unattractive blond actress in the role of Viper who radiates more skank than snake.

The action scenes are okay but amazingly antiseptic and bloodless. There's a nice fight atop a speeding bullet train and a big showdown between Logan and the Silver Samurai. Again, nothing horrendous but nothing spectacular either.

And of course, the end credits contain a teaser set-up for the next X-Men film, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, in which two major characters confront Logan.

If I recall correctly, Wolverine's catch-phrase used to be: "I'm the best at what I do." Apparently, what the cinematic incarnation of Wolverine is best at is making thunderously mediocre movies.

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