Sunday, February 9, 2014

Turning Japanese

The Wolverine is one of my favorite movie superheroes, mainly due to the magnificent Hugh Jackman. But he was only part of the ensemble in the X-Men movies, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a mess. The Wolverine (2103) might be the Wolverine movie we were looking for.

It seems that Mr. Wolverine was in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped, in a Japanese POW camp, at the bottom of a deep well. He protected a Japanese soldier down there, and now, in the present day, that soldier is a dying rich industrialist. He has sent cute punky Rila Fukushima to bring Logan to Japan to pay off that debt. There he gets involved in Intrigues and Machinations. He also has bad dreams and gets the chance to lose his immortal powers, find someone to love and die with her.

Three things:
  1. I don't really get the whole superpowers-are-a-burden thing. Iron Man does it too. 
  2. The Japan setting is nicely done, especially the little idyll in a seaside village. It has an almost Studio Ghibli feel to the sweet nostalgia.
  3. But the best part, for me, was the Jean Grey flashbacks. She is sweet and accepting, and yet she represents the temptation of death and oblivion. But mostly, Famke Janssen makes her really mythic. I want to watch X-Men 3 again now.
To prep for this movie, we watched Van Helsing again, with Jackman in the title role (yes, we own it, in a small collection of somehow steam-punkish fantasies including League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Brothers Grimm). Our conclusion: A fun movie, with great art direction and a middle section that's a little slow. Also, Jackman looks great in an overcoat and slouch hat.

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