The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman is back to his old ass-kicking ways in his sixth film appearance as the Wolverine. This time set in Japan, where the land of morals and honour prove a hard task for him to sink in to.the-wolverine-poster

Set after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, and taken from the 1982 comic book series ‘Wolverine’ by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. The Wolverine portrays a desperate Logan who only wishes for death, and has vowed never to hurt anyone again. The film attempts to capture the strain of immortality which is being put on him, and how he is dealing with it – something which the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine did not.

The X-Men have disbanded and a lonely, bearded Logan searches for some reason to keep on living, fortunately that reason comes after Yukio tracks him down and explains that her employer would like to give him an honourable death. Jumping to Japan, it appears that the employer is Master Yashida, an individual who was saved by Logan during the Nagasaki bombing in 1945. Yashida explains that he has the capabilities to make him mortal, in exchange for his immortality. Refusing, one of the films main antagonists, ‘Viper’ whose great performance is given by Svetlana Khodchenkova, implants something inside Logan which slows down his regenerative abilities. Thus making him more vulnerable to attacks, and puts him to the ultimate test as he tries to protect Yashida’s grand-daughter Mariko from numerous assailants. When the Wolverine is at his weakest, he needs to be his strongest.

As soon as the film began you were gripped into the story and the special effects, with it opening on a scene showing Logan and Yashida attempting to survive a nuclear blast in Nagasaki. Although in reality Yashida would have been vaporised, or if he had survived underground would have had to wait a hell of a long time to resurface. It still made for a spectacular opening to the film, which shows just how far special effects has come.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine did try to explain the past of Logan, and saw him evolve into a hero – although so did ‘X-Men’ (2000) – but this Wolverine is searching for a meaning to his existence. He doesn’t want to be the hero any more if it means having to hurt people, we learn this through his still-hung-up-on-Jean Grey dreams, in which all he wants is to join her in death. However one thing that I did notice is that, in his dreams, Jean says that she is “all alone here”, surely Cyclops – her long-term boyfriend – would also be there, due to his death in X-Men: The Last Stand. Another small criticism is that – assuming we are including all of the previous X-Men films in the time line – Logan should have no recollection whatsoever of saving Master Yashida, as he was shot in the head with an Admantium bullet in the 1980s which erased all of his memories, so therefore would have forgotten everything before that.

Those small aspects don’t take away the fact that this was an enjoyable film though, for Marvel fans and audiences new to the story of this clawed-crusader. It has really, like with X-Men: First Class, set the bar high for the next X-Men film to be released, although I hardly think that the 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past will disappoint, with director Bryan Singer, scripter Matthew Vaughn, the story line and the actors behind it.

The Wolverine delivers the Logan that Marvel fans have been waiting for, ruthless in a fight, but passionate and willing to do anything for the ones he loves. The fight sequences have gone up a full notch for Wolverine since the X-Men films, adding detailed choreography whilst he is fighting gangs and ninja warriors, and the battle on the roof of the bullet train was a great new fight sequence which saw Logan have to use his wits to out match the gang members.

The film was directed by James Mangold, who has brought Knighgsome great films to the big screen in the past, including: Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma, Identity and Knight And Day.

The Wolverine provided us with our X-Men fix, until the next in the franchise is released in 2014. A film which has its main antagonist hinted at during the end credits sequence of The Wolverine.

The Marvel Movement: Part 2

There is a lot of hype surrounding The Avengers at the moment, but Marvel fans have not forgotten about their other favourite crime-fighting team – the team of mutant heroes. I am talking of course about the X-Men. Whilst Marvel are currently focusing a lot of their time on The Avengers side of things, the ass-kicking ‘School for Gifted Youngsters’, currently owned by FOX, are still in the mix, with one of the biggest films in the franchise set for release in 2014 check.The_Uncanny_X_Men_Logo_by_Meganubis

When the first X-Men film was released in 2000, acclaimed director Bryan Singer (Valkyrie, The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns) had a big task on his hands – trying to get the super-group as a household name, and pleasing fans of the comic books. Thankfully he achieved both of these, and delivered a movie that, although wasn’t completely filled with action, introduced the characters (Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Charles Xavier, Magneto, Rogue and Iceman) to the audience and focused more on the stories behind these mutants and their struggle to be included in everyday society. Leaving a space open for a film of incredible fight sequences and explosions, torn straight from a fanboys dream.xmen_ver1

Luckily that film came along in 2003 with X2 (also by Bryan Singer), which saw Colonel William Striker attack Xavier’s school and reveal some key background information about Wolverine, which would be later touched upon more in another film. X2 had so many great aspects to it: the team up of Magneto and Mystique with the X-Men to help take down Striker, the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike who proved to be quite a match for him – her skeleton also being made from Adamantium and the amazing dam-bursting ending which saw the loss of one of the main characters. Not to mention the introduction of mutants Colossus, Pyro and Night Crawler. The X-Men films were just getting better as they went along.xmen2dvd-300aHowever that all changed, with the Brett Ratner directed X-Men: The Last Stand. It wasn’t that the third instalment to the franchise was a bad film all round, it was mainly because it seemed like Ratner thought that the only way to keep the audience interested was to kill off two of the main characters, which really didn’t work. There was such potential for this to be a great part of the X-Men films, with more comic book mutants being added to the line-up – Angel and Beast. Plus the transformation of Jean Grey into the Phoenix, but it only touched on the background of the Phoenix, and before we knew it the film was over. Yes the mutant vs mutant battle in the conclusion was quite spectacular, but the end of this X-Men trilogy should have had a better climax.Last_stand_posterThere are so many mutants in the X-Men universe that the films could not end there, so once the trilogy was over FOX decided to look into the backgrounds of singular characters. The first to get this treatment was probably the most famous member of the group, Wolverine, with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. At first it seemed like this film couldn’t go wrong, director Gavin Hood took everyone’s favourite x-man and made a film about his life and his back story. The story line was great as it showed Wolverine from his childhood to the point when he received his Adamantium claws. It also showed the reason for his hatred for his brother Sabretooth and introduced yet more characters to an audience unfamiliar with the comics: Gambit, The Blob, Emma Frost and Deadpool. This is where it’s downfall was though, bringing in too many characters to the plot, half of which weren’t even needed. To make things worse the ending completely messed up the comic book time line, which saw Charles Xavier standing as an old man, when he was actually injured quite young. Looking back, I have to say that I think the best part was the opening sequence showing Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting through every battle since the civil war, and it gradually began going since hill since then, also no amount of new characters will make up for the terrible portrayal of Deadpool.2009-x_men_origins_wolverine-3Luckily there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light was director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake), who brought back the uncanny X-Men that everyone loved. ‘X-Men: First Class’ was another X-Men origins film, and this time took the audience back to before the super-group were formed, and when Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (Professor X and Magneto) were good friends. They both meet after chasing the same villain -Sebastian Shaw- and begin going around the country recruiting members to their team, such as: Banshee and Riptide. In the process of doing so they meet a pissed off Wolverine who just throws profanity their way. From start to finish the film was just spectacular, and one of the main reasons is because it made you feel the emotions of the characters. It showed you the bonds that were broken when Charles and Erik decided to go their separate ways: Charles and Erik’s friendship, the half brother and sister Charles and Raven (Mystique) and the romantic connection between Raven and Hank (Beast). All of the actors gave stellar performances – James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon – which added more to the best X-Men film (apart from maybe X2) so far. After watching said film, it made me see the previous X-Men films in a different light, and wonder what the heroes and villains must be thinking when deciding on certain tasks against the very people that they used to call their friends.xmen_first_class_ver6Wolverine is once again getting the chance to show audiences why he is one of the most loved X-Men in 2013, especially after X-Men Origins: Wolverine failed to dazzle. Hugh Jackman returns to the role of the Adamantium clawed crusader for the sixth film, and this time his journey takes him to modern day Japan, as he is given the opportunity to get rid of his immortal capabilities and become human. However The Silver Samurai may stand in his way, and will force him to fight in a different way due to him now being so vulnerable.the-wolverine-2013-movie-poster-600x889Although ‘The Wolverine’ is going to be this summers big X-Men blockbuster, it is nothing compared to what we are to expect in 2014. ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ is set to be the biggest and most adventures X-Men film yet. Taken straight from an ‘Uncanny X-Men’ comic book story from the 1980s, the film has a time-travel story line and jumps from a dystopian future where mutants are almost extinct, to the early 1970s – which is set 10 years after X-Men: First Class. The list of things which are hinting at this being the best X-Men film so far is ridiculous, first of all Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2) is back in the director’s spot to clean up the damage left by X-Men: The Last Stand, and Matthew Vaughn, the man responsible for X-Men: First Class, is scripting the film. Not to mention Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Ellen Page, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Daniel Cudmore are set to reprise their roles as Professor X, Magneto, Shadowcat, Wolverine, Storm and Colossus. Then there’s Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult starring once again as Mystique, Magneto, Professor X and Beast – when the film skips to the past. The Sentinels, giant robots who hunt mutants, are also finally being introduced to the X-Men franchise. They were briefly seen in X-Men: The Last Stand when the team were training – Wolverine cut it’s head off. Being a big part of the comic book universe it is good to see them finally appearing in an X-Men film as they will make a worthy villain. The expectations for X-Men: Days Of Future Past are quite high, but with the people who are behind it, it is sure to be a mind-blowing experience, even though there will still be no leather suits…maybe next time.x-men-days-of-future-pastThe Wolverine – July 2013

X-Men: Days Of Future Past – July 2014