It's a good thing we don't have adamantium claws getting in the way, because we found ourselves scratching our heads pretty vigorously after seeing The Wolverine. Does Hugh Jackman's Logan have an endless wardrobe of wife beater tank-tops? Did Hiroyuki Sanada really make the right choice in leaving Revenge to play a walking example of generational decline? Could we possibly be any more excited for Days of Future Past? Well, we can't really answer those questions for you, but we do take a stab at these eight. But beware, major SPOILERS are ahead.
1. Is the plot of The Wolverine eerily similar to the plot of Prometheus?Well, both movies feature a quest that's spurred by an old man obsessed with immortality (Will Yun Lee in The Wolverine, Guy Pearce in Prometheus) who is presumed dead before it is revealed that he faked his death and is surviving due to extreme artificial methods. (I love the idea of Will Yun Lee's Yashida at some point announcing, "Okay, I'm going to fake my death. But I'll continue to run my multi-billionaire dollar company from inside the comfort of this Silver Samurai suit!") In their respective quests to live forever, both men also seem to have become a bit homicidal.
Also, the heroes of both movies (Hugh Jackman's Logan and Noomi Rapace's Dr. Elizabeth Shaw) discover they possess unwanted parasitic intruders in their bodies. And they must surgically remove them. All by themselves. Luckily, Yashida's medical scanners are on par with the late 21st century technology seen in Prometheus.
2. What is a "love hotel"?"Love hotels" are lodgings geared entirely for short stays. As in, couples check into a room for a tryst and then check out. They're geared entirely around sexual encounters, so love hotels may not have the amenities that hotels that accommodate longer stays might have. But they do have themed rooms like "nurse's office," "police station," and "mission to Mars," as seen in The Wolverine when Logan and Mariko (Tao Okamoto) rent one in which to hide out. Love hotels have existed in Japan in one form or another since the late 1800s, but became particularly popular in the '60s. Free love, baby!
3. Wolverine showed off some mighty wood-cutting skills. Is that just yet another opportunity for Hugh Jackman to flex his muscles, or something more?You might be excused for thinking that moment when Wolverine picks up an axe to clear away a fallen tree is a pretty self-indulgent excuse just to see his ripped biceps. Not so! This was a nod to Logan's on-again, off-again career as a lumberjack, as seen in the comics over the years.
4. Was that "I didn't know there was a pool there" joke ripped off from Diamonds Are Forever?Both movies feature somebody getting thrown from a great height into a pool. Both movies then crack a joke about somebody getting thrown from a great height into a pool. You draw your own conclusions.
5. What's the Silver Samurai like in the comics?The depiction of the Silver Samurai in The Wolverine is wildly different from that in the comics. There, he wasn’t the father of Shingen Yashida, but his son. He was also a mutant with the ability to charge his katana — kind of like what Gambit can do to playing cards — which, in combination with his silver armor, made him pretty much invincible. In the movie, it seems like his charged katana is the result of technology more than natural ability.
When he made his first appearance, in Daredevil #111 in 1974 fighting the blind hero, Silver Samurai was a professional criminal by trade. He'd end up fighting Nick Fury, Spider-Man, and, yes, Wolverine over the course of his career. And just like in The Wolverine, he'd team up with Viper, who in the comics was more of an international terrorist. But rather than being her employer, he usually served as Viper's bodyguard. He totally needed a promotion to make the jump to the big screen.
6. What is Trask Industries?In the post-credits sequence, it's two years later and Wolverine is standing in line at a U.S. airport. He's watching a TV monitor and is greeted by an ad for Trask Industries. It's the kind of ad you'd expect from a major security contractor and weapons manufacturer — it's all about how it's going to keep you safe. But given what we know of Days of Future Past, we'd bet that they're talking about protecting the rest of humanity from the mutants. And that they intend to do so by building giant Sentinel robots.
7. Is Svetlana Khodchenkova's Viper the campiest comic book villain since Sharon Stone's cosmetics mogul in Catwoman?Since Viper's villainy is pretty much defined by her ever more ridiculous array of costumes, we'd say yes.
8. Wait... Magneto has his powers back and Xavier is alive? How did this happen?Who cares? As long as it erases the horrible plot turns of X-Men: The Last Stand that saw Magneto robbed of his abilities and Xavier exploded by the Phoenix, we'll take it. And Bryan Singer, while you're at it, why don't you bring back James Marsden's Cyclops? Dude deserved better than an offscreen death.
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After X-Men Origins: Wolverine turned out to be a bit of a mess, I was equal parts skeptical and hopeful about The Wolverine. I was skeptical for obvious reasons. But I was hopeful because this seemed like a completely different movie that was actually going to tell Wolverine's story without the distractions of mutants flying everywhere and shooting lasers out of their eyes. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed.
The Wolverine is the movie I (and many fans) wanted Origins to be. It takes place some time after X-Men: The Last Stand, when Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) had to kill his love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Doing so made him question his whole identity, and that internal struggle is the driving force behind this film.
The movie opens with Wolverine saving a young Japanese soldier, Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), from the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki. We then flash to the present day, where a full-bearded Logan is living in a cave and is friends with a bear (sort of). After killing Jean, he is afraid of what he's capable of, and he would rather live away from people than risk hurting anyone again. It is only when Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a fiery warrior with equally fiery red hair, finds Logan and tells him that Yashida is dying and wishes to say goodbye that Logan returns to society and heads to Japan. But Yashida actually wants to offer Logan the chance to become mortal again, which only makes it harder for him to acknowledge his true nature.
Once in Japan, Yashida dies and Logan ends up protecting his granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from the Yakuza gang and from her father, Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada). There’s sword fighting, knife throwing, and some ninjas with bows and arrows. In the middle of it all, of course, the claws come out. The action is what the audience loves to see, and it doesn't let us down. And when Logan isn't sticking his claws through some bad guy, he's dreaming about Jean. There's a nice balance between the two that reminds us that, even though Logan has healing powers and an adamantium skeleton, he's also a man who has seen and done many things and is struggling with who he is and who he wants to be.
It’s been 13 years since Jackman first played Wolverine, and he knows this character inside and out. That comfort level is what makes it so easy for the audience to connect with Logan and his struggle. His brooding, scowling performance brings Wolverine down to a more human level and shows that you can still have an existential crisis even when you’ve been around for hundreds of years.
There is, however, the matter of the Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), who takes Logan's healing powers at the beginning of the film. The Wolverine is possibly the most relatable of the X-Men movies, but the Viper brings a heavily melodramatic element to the film. Her costumes are so outlandish as to be laughable, and her main motive seems to be villainy for villainy's sake. She's almost too embedded in the comic book reality for a movie that focuses less on mutants with powers and more on the internal difficulties Logan is facing.
While the first two thirds of the movie deal with human emotions and identity crises, the film does get a bit overzealous in its final act. Wolverine fights the Silver Samurai, a giant made of adamantium, while Viper continues with the melodrama. But all in all, director James Mangold managed to make an entertaining film that gives us more of an insight to Wolverine than we've ever had before. It's a standalone Wolverine film that is actually about Wolverine.
And, true to Marvel fashion, there's an excellent post-credits scene.
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All's been relatively quiet on The Wolverine front, but with its July 26 release date only weeks away, the anticipation is building again. In light of that, we've got some new images for you. Below are photos of Rila Fukushima as Yukio, Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida, Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper, and Will Yun Lee as Silver Samurai.
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After an innovative, six-second tease that sent rabid comic book junkies into a frenzy earlier this week, the official trailer for The Wolverine has arrived online. Unlike the frantic editing of the Vine teaser debut, the new spot for the comic book blockbuster is cool and composed. Helmer James Mangold gracefully finds a new direction in which to take Hugh Jackman's iconic cinematic superhero.
Gracefully in terms of storytelling, that is. Don't worry: the movie delivers on the promise of "Wolverine fights ninjas," with the added bonus of Mangold finding a way to nuke his main character.
Check out the trailer, then jump into our full breakdown below, digging a bit deeper into some of the video's wilder moments.
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We pick up with Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan (Jackman) outside of a bar, looking wet, forlorn, and ready to belt a Jean Valjean number from Les Miserables. Clearly, life post-X-Men: The Last Stand has been rough on the gruff hero, as it has been for anyone who saw the trilogy capper back in 2006. But if he could bounce back to life after the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he can bounce back from the death of Jean Grey. And he will. As we learn in the trailer.
Meet Yukio (Rila Fukushima). In the arc from which The Wolverine takes its cues, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by the legendary Frank Miller, the mysterious woman comes to Wolverine's aid in the heat of battle. Here, she appears to recruit him for a mission, which, if it stays true to the source material, should involve some nasty Japanese gangsters and the protection of a new love interest for Logan, Mariko Yashida. Yukio may also have some secrets of her own. No spoilers!
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This is an image of Wolverine suffering from the blast of a nuke. A NUKE. Here, he's saving a younger version of Mariko's father Shingen from the explosion. Judging from the military base scene a few seconds earlier, this could be a sequence pulled straight from the history books. It appears to be a recreation of August 6, 1945, when the U.S. Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. As we know from X-Men Origins, Wolverine has been around since the Revolutionary War and fought in WWII. He could have been around to protect young Shingen.
Evidently, Shingen is pretty darn appreciative of Wolverine's actions on that fateful day. Sitting in a Pin Point Impression Needle Art Frame™ chair (did he get that at his local mall's science store?), Shingen gives Logan the opportunity of a lifetime: undo his mutation and allow him to be a mortal human being. Note: actor Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays Shingen in the film, is 53 years old. That's some amazing old age makeup!
Assisting in Shingen's continued medical care (and possibly Wolverine's reverse transformation into a regular joe) is Viper, played by Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy actress Svetlana Khodchenkova. Viper is an assassin who originated from the Captain America comics and wasn't part of the original Claremont/Miller storyline. But it never hurts to have an additional assassin in the cast.
Next: Hidden Cameos, Fight Scenes, and a Crazy Final Moment
We speculated when the six-second teaser arrived online whether Famke Janssen's appearance in The Wolverinewould be a flashback or newly shot material. It seems clear that it's the former, a memory that backs up Shingen's voiceover line "you have struggled long enough."
Sometimes, you have to take a moment and basque in the still-frames of badassness. With all the pitfalls of modern action filmmaking and the cluttered mess of a movie that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman has still got it. He's ripped, he kicks ass, and he can convincingly spar with fake claws glued to his hands.
Will Yun Lee is listed as Kenuichio Harada in the credits of The Wolverine, but savvy comic book fans know him better as The Silver Samurai, one of Wolverine's deadliest foes. Silver Samurai enters into Wolverine's Japanese exploits after he's finished with his entanglement with the Japanese underworld, but it makes sense that the movie would bump up his influence on the storyline and make him a main adversary. In the comics, Silver Samurai has also acted as a bodyguard for Viper, making his appearance even more necessary and rooted in the source material. The only thing this trailer doesn't serve up is a money shot of Yun Lee in the Silver Samurai costume — a traditional set of armor glistening and enhanced by sharp metal.
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"I've stopped healing." It's a line that flies by, but here, Wolverine comes to the realization that his usual scratch-be-gone genetics aren't working. Now he's just like us!
No, Wolverine isn't Superman now. He's been reduced to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible and zipping across the roof of a speeding train. With his angry face on.
One of the more intense sequences from Claremont and Miller's comic is Wolverine's first run in with ninjas. It doesn't go well. He might be tough, capable of slicing baddies in half with lightning speed, but these are ninjas who won't be close enough to our hero for more than a millisecond at a time. While we're looking forward to seeing Jackman kick some butt, we're also looking forward to seeing him get in over his head.
So, Viper may be an actual snakeperson. Sure, why not? This is X-Men! Viper wasn't actually a mutant in the comic books, but since she's running a genetics program for Shingen that's capable of undoing Logan's healing powers, it's no surprise she's used the same technology to beef herself up. Molting never looked so sexy.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox (12)]
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Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.