Hearing the Dark Knight whisper, “I’m Batman” on his first foray is always a little iconic. And hearing Tony Stark tell us “I am Iron Man” at the end of this last film was cathartic. But at this point having to hear “I’m the Wolverine,” the superhero identity crisis line has just become a little worn out. If only that was the worst part of this film’s plodding, predictable, pointless entry into the X-men franchise.
Let me save you the trouble. The grade is a C-. If you’re looking for mindless entertainment, and maybe have had a beer or two…this might be okay. But not by much. Certainly not worth the $10 you’ll shell out for the ticket.
I would give a summary of the plot, but there would have to be one for me to do that.
Non Major Spoiler Sins
So probably the most horrendous problem with this film is that it takes place after X-Men: Last Stand and makes constant reference to that horrific abomination of a film. I think we all would have been much happier if the producers of this film had treated Last Stand in much the same way that the rest of Marvel treats that Ang Lee Hulk and the entire world treats George Lazenby as Bond…What? Who? I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. You’re referring to a movie I, nor anyone else has ever seen nor will ever admit even to its existence. But no. Logan, the Wolverine, spends much of the film talking to his hallucination of Jean Grey, the woman he killed in Last Stand. That’s what I want, a mentally unbalanced hero.
Then there is the character development. Well the Wolverine gets over moping about killing a being hell-bent on destroying all of existence (okay, fine he loved her, I never really figured out why, but he also saved the world, kind of a draw, certainly the ‘I forsake the world for all time’ attitude is a bit much). And after his moping he became the exact same character we saw in every other X-men movie. Yeah, I know he’s an iconic character, I know you can’t do too much…but dear god, can I have the semblance of character development. Because I certainly didn’t get it from any of the other characters who were as flat as the forced dialogue in this film. I’m still not even clear on half of the motivations going on in this film…or exactly why the evil mutant is an expert in “biochemistry and metaphysics” (that line makes less than zero sense) and manages to create a killing robot. Oh and there’s a Korean actor in there who thinks he’s either a Japanese ninja or the runner up to play Hawkeye in the Avengers….what’s worse is that line makes his character sound like he has way more depth than he actually does.
And before I get into the spoiler heavy reasons why this movie was terrible, let me just deal with some of the more political aspects that pissed me off. The movie starts off with the Wolverine being held as a POW in WWII Japan. The town that he is in appears to be a quiet sleepy village with only a cursory military presence but lots and lots of innocent civilians. And it seems like a quiet day and no one is expecting any problems. Then in swoops the Enola Gay to drop Fat Man and the whole place goes to hell, because this is supposedly Nagasaki. Of course the problems with this depiction are that Nagasaki wasn’t a quiet little fishing village as they portray, it was a major industrial city specializing in ship building. Also it doesn’t look like this town has ever even heard of an atomic bomb (odd as one had already gone off) or that had ever seen one of the 63 million leaflets that had been dropped over Japan by the US repeatedly warning civilians about bombings. From the point of view of this movie the US were terrible, horrible people who dropped an atomic bomb on defenseless villagers just because they’re mean…not, you know the truth, which was we dropped an atomic bomb a legitimate military target after warning to the people to get the hell out, because dropping the first one had only responded in the Japanese looking into building their own atomic bombs. It wasn’t depicted as a choice of we can drop two really big bombs on hundreds of thousands or we can invade the island and have to lose millions of our men and kill millions of theirs…no it is depicted as usual Hollywood tripe of US imperialism drops bomb on defenseless fishermen because we’re evil like that. I can’t imagine why filth like this in the opening scenes would put me in a bad mood.
And do you know why people are evil in this movie. Well because they’re capitalist. No really, one of the villains is a wealthy industrialist who has built a massive corporation and the other one specifically says she does what she does because she’s “a capitalist.” Hollywood lives in this universe, unlike reality, capitalism isn’t the thing that lifts people out of poverty, improves the quality of life, and makes the world a better place. If it were just this one movie I would just scoff at their idiocy, but The Wolverine is hardly the first or the last movie to truck in this kind of idiocy. Of course the irony is that it was put out by people who call anything that doesn’t make a 50% profit at the box office a failure when the rest of us are striving to get a 3% return on our investments. I have no problem with profit, I love it, but I find Hollywood’s constant demonizing of profit when they revel in it just a tad hypocritical.
Spoiler Heavy Sins of the Film
So let me give you a rundown of the events in the film…and I use the words events because it certainly wasn’t a coherent plot. Logan goes to Japan. A man he once saved is dying and wants to trade Logan for his immortality. Logan declines dying (who would have guessed). Logan is assaulted by an evil serpent mutant whose venom can cause him to lose consciousness and she places in him a machine that weakens his healing ability. The old man dies (but not really, and I don’t think anyone was fooled enough to think he really died, except of course the idiots in this film).
Logan then tries to save the granddaughter of the dead man from the Yakuza. They’ve been hired by her father to kill her because granddad left the company to her in his will. This makes no sense as I don’t think anyone thought granddad was actually dead. Nor is this transfer of power ever really explained. Granddad certainly knew he wasn’t dead…why bother leaving it to anyone? Logan falls in love with granddaughter. She gets captured. Then there are ninjas. And Logan takes out the device that has been preventing him from healing.
But soon he gets captured because snake lady’s venom renders him unconscious and snake lady and granddad need to drain Logan of all of his healing powers via some kind of bone marrow extraction through his claws (by this point I gave up even caring how little sense this made). One wonders why they waited all this time. If snake lady can knock him out with her venom, why didn’t they just do that in the first place? Why this convoluted story involving the granddaughter. Everything we learn in Act III makes everything that happened in Act II not only pointless, but it’s actually a plan that makes Bond villains look competent in their management skills. It will I’m sure come as no shock that Logan wins but you really won’t care given how shallow and pointless the whole mess has been up to this point.
Oh and then two years later Logan is walking through an airport and Professor X and Magneto come and tell him they need his help. The end.
No I have no faith that the next X-men movie will be any good either.
Save your money, don’t see this film.