The Wolverine (2013)

The Canuckle Head got his mojo back! Bloodied claws, healing powers, women’s affection, a free round trip to ninja land all the reasons for the fans to place him once more on the pedestal!

The Wolverine

20th Century Fox in association with The Donner’s Company, Seed Productions, Hutch Parker Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Media, Big Screen Productions, TSG Entertainment  and Marvel Entertainment present…

From the pages of “Wolverine”, a limited comic book series that was written by fan favorites Chris Claremont and artist Frank Miller. Now, I have said this before that Frank is an absolute genius in his field but since his doing the chores in the graphic side of things let’s turn our spotlight to the man who made super hero stories indispensably and intellectually engaging! In this case, we are not even talking about just the aforementioned series; Chris helped built the “X-Men” once more from the ground up and made huge contributions in terms of co-creating numerous significant characters that have graced the pages of Marvel Comics time and again! His collaborations with the industry’s greatest such as John Byrne and Jim Lee has led to numerous awards that made his works instant gold!

Speaking of which, let’s now focus on film and start off with Director James Mangold (Knight & Day) with Writers Mark Bomback (Total Recall), Scott Frank (Dead Again) and Christopher McQuarrie (The Tourist) to take this sequel to the Land of the Rising Sun! Their cohesive delivery was way better from his previous film, although more sober and injected with fast paced action and humor it actually carries the weight of how the storyline was originally presented in the comic books.

To continue from the last film “X-Men: The Last Stand”, Logan made a decision to end the life of the woman he adores who is none other than fellow X-Man Jean Grey also known as the Phoenix to stop her from killing more people and to cause further destruction! Now, he secludes himself in the wilderness trying to forget the past which actually still haunts him! As he takes another step of his journey, he lands in Japan just specifically to say goodbye to an old friend. Well, that was actually the original plan…

The infamous mutant is back on the big screen! Hugh Jackman (The Fountain) plays the title role! With significant recognition, no one has ever portrayed a character that has the same passion and conviction than the Australian actor! Hugh has made this intricate character transformation that, it is so uncanny for him to be able to personify the superhero in terms looks, attitude, delivery and focus! Just like his superstar colleague Robert Downey Jr. who gave fans their very personal “Iron Man” and for being part of the monumental Marvel Cinematic Universe!

To those of you who haven’t read his stories, it has been inclined to be tragic from the time when he was still very young from learning what he has inside of him and how he became the man who is now trudging through life’s sufferings, to him this is like an eternity and what makes it more compelling is the people he lost along the way which tears him apart!

While with the utmost certainty that he wants to be alone and be at peace, this could never be for he has fought so much battles personally while making ends meet as a member of the best factions in Marvel Comics such as the “X-Men”, “Fantastic Four”, “Alpha Flight” and the most current the “Avengers”, he serves them faithfully and means well while keeping check his brooding berserker rages!

In relation to the setting, the Director and his crew was able to at least make ends meet by filming in Sydney, Australia and turning it into a second home for Japan to come alive since there was huge delays due to the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Tohoku! While giving it authenticity is providing of course the people that allow this saga a run for its money! Starting off with Rila Fukushima (Karma: A Very Twisted Love Story) as Yukio a loyal friend, amiable but deadly assassin, she was a minor character in the comic books but had a very extensive role in the film setting her as Logan’s introduction into their world while providing enough narrative to make his trip worth fighting for!

Rounding off the cast were Will Yun Lee (Elektra) known as Kenuichio Harada as the Black Ninja Clan’s leader and protector of the Yashida Family! Hiroyuki Sanada (The City of Your Final Destination) is Shingen Yashida, an officer of the POW Camp that detained Logan in the World War II days and was saved from the nuclear bomb dropped by the Americans! It was really fascinating to see how well they have integrated all these characters and made Chris and Frank’s work come into fruition while incorporating the fight sequences, stunts and the validity redemption in spite of all odds!

For a second I thought Jean Val Jean is alive once more as he was trying to save a Princess her name is Mariko Yashida who serves as focal point in the plot, she is played by model turned actress Tao Okamoto. The relationship between Logan and Mariko was not sustainable enough unlike in the original story. If you think about it, the caring part was just developing that would later transpire into a deeper affection but how does it go beyond this if there was Jean portrayed by Famke Janssen (House of Haunted Hill) who keeps on lingering in his head like a ghost trying to aggravate Logan’s misery, what he is going through with her loss and how he can make himself stronger by forgiving himself in his unending struggles.

With the ratio of women in the film, all were resilient enough and composed to be different as it goes with the set-up, for they were still able to stand out individually to tell the story from their own perspective and roles. To add, Svetlana Khodchenkova (Bless the Woman) an accomplished triple threat in film, stage and television productions. Her role as Viper was given after Jessica Biel was initially offered by the film execs but did not push through with the John Hancock!

As we move on, in terms of its CGI content, Weta Digital (The Lovely Bones) together with Rising Sun Pictures (Australia), Iloura (Seven Swords) and Shade VFX (Side Effects) provide their God given gifts to make the visuals leap out of the pages specifically in the bullet train scene where Wolverine stave off some Yakuza assassins as this leaves us with the final confrontation of the well hidden antagonist. With all the metal clunking and slashing, this seeming monolith code named the Silver Samurai a villain that should be wearing a standard armor but not to over use it to be something mechanically centric driven!

To be honest, this film does beat out the previous ones in the franchise! In terms of content, diversity of culture and production sets that was top notch and imbued near perfectly for the audience to experience. Along in the process is how the hero keeps his sanity living like an immortal being physically vulnerable again and carrying all these pain in the process is what the Director and Writers were aiming for to work as its backdrop that blends in with a love story that won’t go away while the hero gives everything he could muster to still save the people around him, still come into his senses to move on with life and fight the never ending battle against oppression!

In closing, we can now hang our bloodied hands for bit (yes, finally there was a human stain etched on his adamantium claws after all the fighting and ruckus) The moment is now to actually see the fruition of hard work, when San Diego Comic-Con announced with a very huge panel that the next project will be “Days of Future Past” where a villain needs help, a mentor returns from the grave and a human is not very happy so he’s making sure “everyone” knows about it!

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