Wolverine Hugh Jackman

Logan may not rest easy at night, but Hugh Jackman can. It’s official: He has now atoned for 2009’s ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine.’

In 2009, the brilliant minds at Fox decided to put Deadpool, “the merc with a mouth,” into a Wolverine movie … only they sewed his mouth shut and did away with one of the coolest uniforms in comics. The movie was a letdown, so one can’t blame an American audience for being coy on the opening weekend of ‘The Wolverine.’ Regardless, it still did pretty darn well; fans have been given a quality product.

Hollywood’s summer tentpole strategy continued to suffer in North America with the muted debut of The Wolverine, but the X-Men spin-off more than made up for it overseas.

The 20th Century Fox pic opened to $55 million domestically and roughly $86.1 million internationally for a worldwide total of $141.1 million — easily covering the film’s $120 million production budget. Internationally, it posted the strongest opening ever for an X-Men title.

Wolverine certainly isn’t a dud in North America and still claimed the No. 1 position, but came in at least $10 million behind expectations and well behind the $85.1 million opening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in early May 2009. It opened on par with last summer’s X-Men: First Class, an origins pic versus a sequel.

Word of mouth will help ‘The Wolverine’ out, which is a good thing because it’s obvious that Mr. Jackman loves the character. He’s not getting any younger — a bitter pill to swallow when playing a guy who doesn’t age — but at least the success of this film will guarantee him a few more times running around on screen as the mutant.

Perhaps the smartest move director James Mangold did was to scale everything down into something that wasn’t a typical “superhero” movie. It’s a Samurai flick. It’s a Japanese mob story. It’s a character study. And yes, it just so happens to have super-powered mutants doing what you expect super-powered mutants to do. There’s a crisscrossing of genres that really works, which is impressive because it could have gone horribly wrong.

In short, Wolverine has retreated into the forest after the events depicted in ‘X-Men: The Last Stand.’ Having killed the woman he loved, Jean Grey, he attempts to deny who (and what) he is — a soldier. The result? He’s a man without a purpose. He wants to die — or so he thinks.

Logan is eventually tracked down by a mutant named Yukio (Rila Fukushima). She tells him that a man he saved during World War II, Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), is dying and would like to see him one last time. Logan relents, and the two are off to Japan. From there the plot unfolds with Wolverine having to play protector for Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), all while trying to keep himself alive; his healing powers have mysteriously been suppressed and the bullet holes and blood loss take a toll on his body in ways he’s never experienced.

With all of this going on,’The Wolverine’ is at its best when it’s getting inside Logan’s head. I always pictured a Wolverine film to be reminiscent of ‘Rambo: First Blood’ instead of fare meant for “pop-corn” sensibilities, (e.g., ‘Iron Man 3’). Wolverine is a tortured soul, and it was nice to see him in a film that slowed things down to explore the mind of a soldier who is struggling to find peace. In between satisfying action scenes (the bullet-train fight in particular), fans finally get to see Logan’s psychology explored in ways that do him justice.

‘The Wolverine’ is not without its flaws, but it’s hard to deny that Hugh Jackman worked overtime (physically and mentally) to make up for ‘X-Men Origins.’ Fans might not have a healing factor like Wolverine, but this latest effort will rebuild a lot of trust with skeptical moviegoers.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

24 comments

  1. Can’t wait to see it, although I’m one of the few people who liked X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Glad to hear that this movie is a character study of Wolvie. Sounds like it might be similar to “Batman Begins” in that sense.

    1. I didn’t think “Origins” was as bad as some people made it out to be … but what they did to Deadpool was unforgivable. I have no idea who came up with that. It also felt like some producer said, “We need a crazy ending and we have to blow our budget on the effects … so come up with something.” I just shook my head at the last 10 minutes and exited the theater thinking, “What was that? Why did they do that? That was so unnecessary.”

      I really like the tone and the pacing of ‘The Wolverine.’ Maybe I’m just a sucker for the Samurai and Japanese crime drama stuff, but it worked for me. I almost think it would have been better to figure out a way to do the movie without Viper as well. Something was off there, but like I said the movie ultimately gets two thumbs up.

    2. I wasn’t at all fond of the Wolverine origins movie… but I plan on seeing this one eventually, because I figure it can’t be any worse than the original. Plus I hear it has a nice lead-in into next year’s Days of Future Past.

    3. I’m not sure what the heck happened with ‘Origins.’ Sometimes there are too many chefs in the kitchen, which I guess is understandable when the studio is putting up $100 million or more… ‘The Wolverine’ is the movie they should have made from the get-go. I’m glad that the studio seemed to take a more hands-off approach to this one.

      And yes, you’ll have to stick around after the credits. I still don’t understand how there are people out there who leave a Marvel movie at the official “end.” Didn’t they get the memo?

  2. I’m glad to hear this was entertaining as I was let down by “Origins” hard. I know it wouldn’t sell, but I’ve always wanted a hard-R “Wolverine” movie where he’s just tearing through baddies like it’s the end of the world. Logan in the comics isn’t a nice guy, and he’s “the best at what he does” – kicking ass and taking names!

    All the same, this sounds great. I would have enjoyed the director of “Requiem for a Dream” getting this, though, as originally announced. That would have been something special.

    P.S. The Deadpool appearance in “Origins” might be the biggest travesty in Marvel comics cinema thus far. Ryan Renolds is a perfect fit, and he loves the character. The movie’s opening totally had me thinking the first time I saw it they knew what was up too.

    1. Yes, it’s a little weird that Wolverine slices through guys and, ummm … never gets blood on his claws. In this film there are some blood stains after he goes through people, but that aspect always seemed odd to me. I wouldn’t want Tarantino-type blood, but it seems as though they could make an exception here or there for the worst baddies.

      I was speechless after “Origins” after seeing what they did to Deadpool. It made absolutely no sense. It was almost as if there was some sort of character rights issue and Marvel didn’t play ball with Fox, so someone said, “Okay, let’s completely ruin this character out of spite.” I can not for the life of me think of why they would have him in the movie if they were going to literally sew his mouth shut and then take away the costume.

  3. I just watched the movie Saturday with my wife and we both really enjoyed it. The only thing that I did not care much for was how the SS was a bit too robotic. Overall we were both happy to have been able to watch this film. Of course you have to see what is after the credits too!

    1. I agree with the robotic SS part … and yes, the part after the end credits was actually pretty good. It’s a great segue was ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’.

    1. I KNOW right!? With ALL of this talk about making one of the Storm Siblings in the New Fantastic Four franchise black and with Jamie Foxx as Electro, you’d THINK the PC crowd would be BEGGING for a Black Panther movie. Or a Heroes For Hire Movie with Luke Cage. But nope: apparently, aside from Blade, The Hollywood crowd is AGAINST having a black dude as awesome, self-reliant, intelligent, combat capable, and moral and ethical like T’Chala on the big screen. Gee, I wonder why? 😛

      Well, like I said, it’s EPIC. The full series can be found for free on youtube on this guy’s channel. The animation is…iffy…but the writing more than makes up for it, I believe. Be warned though, there might be hints of liberalism in there that might turn you away.

      Episode 1:

    1. Alright, first, what do you think about this basic premise idea I wrote when I was a junior in high-school?

      “STARBINGER: IDEA SUMMARY!

      On a world farther in the Milky Way galaxy than man can fathom, there is the ever conflagration of inferno. Unsurprisingly, given the world’s proximity to the red dwarf star in its system. However, in actual surprise, this world is teaming with the spark of life as all of the beings on the planet have learned to adapt to the extreme energies their sun provides them so well that is all they need to survive. Out of all of these various species, one has emerged to lay dominance over it.

      They have many names throughout the spacefaring regions of the cosmos, even in some that have not the capacity for such mode of travel. In their own tongue however, they are referred to as the Cato-Namike, or “Nova-Children” in one of our tongues. Instead of merely surviving on the energy however, they could control it, manipulate it, and emit it. Not only that, but the energy strengthened them as well along with making them more agile and quicker, able to traverse the breadth of their world in little over a day.

      They are a people of peace who, despite their great power, use it to harm others only in self-defense, and, in humorous pranks.

      In a show of grand celestial juxtaposition, on the only other “habitable” world in the same system, there is the ever storming of winter’s freezing touch, also unsurprisingly given how distant in was from the red-dwarf in the system. Much like its neighbor however, despite its closeness to the sun, the spark of life glistens on this world as well, like its endless tundra. Not in the same abundance mind you, but till more than it would be expected to possess.

      Where the Cato-Namike have learned to thrive in the high intensity energy their sun provides however, they, the Roa-Arteron (void-hunters) have adapted to the lack of energy. Where the heat strengthened the Cato-Namike, the cold strengthened the Roa-Arteron.

      And on their cold and desolate world, they were made bitter like their constant gales. They are a war-like people with violent tendencies who pride themselves in their combat prowess and all things pertaining to fighting or preying. Where peace brought those on its cousin planet, Catol, together, only the ever present conflict of this planet’s, Cryonia’s many tribes, clans, and factions brought it together, barely.

      If not for the “purported” threat of alien invasion when the planet had finally achieved space travel, their ruling family, the Chratins, would have eventually lost power. But they found a great scapegoat…in the Cato-Namike.

      Under the guise of a visiting royal procession, a fleet of crude ships (by the standards of the rest of the galaxy) attacked Catol. With armor and weapon alike able to withstand the 1000-10,000 degrees fahrenheit heat, the Roa-Arteron stormed across the world, encountering little in the way of organized resistance given their peaceful ways.

      Even their royal family had little in the way of protection, only a dozen guards at any given time defending them. After days of the slaughter however, it became quickly apparent that a more organized defense was in order and the royal family along with the ruling council established a standing army armed only with their immense power.

      In a massive surprise attack, they drove the invaders away, managing to incapacitate more than killing them, and confiscating their starships to create their own for future protection.

      And such began the cycle of war and ceasefires that occupied much of the planets efforts. Attempted invasions were repelled by both sides, launched by both sides, and advancements were made in the arts of war.

      Had not a third-party, in the name of a race known as the Buumerians discovered the system, it was likely neither side would find peace. But they, the grandest, largest, and most powerful empire in the galaxy happened upon both worlds, and with their superior technology, imposed a peace of sorts with the promise of giving both worlds access to the galaxy with their advanced starship technology.

      Both worlds agreed, and to further peace between their people, the articles of their peace called for something peculiar. The royal Princes’ of bith sides were to offer their first (and newly) born to the other Prince for a period of 300 solar cycles (fifteen years) in order for both cultures to gain a true understanding of each other and ensure peace in the time to come.

      It was thus that both species propagated across the galaxy, offering their talents wherever possible. nd it was thus that the single Prince of Catol, Apol-Hyperious, gave his only son, Sol, to the prince of Cryonia, Ro-Mir, who in turn gave Apol his three triplets.

      But, it is years later on Cryonia where our story takes place. There, Sol has become exactly what both worlds wish him to be, for better or worse, and soon, he shall return home to Catol. But fate has a different plan for him and will take him to the farthest reaches of the Galaxy aboard a ship that will bear a legendary name he will bestow upon it.

      THE STARBINGER!

    2. I’d say for a kid in middle school, that’s a pretty detailed plot summary. It’s clearly imaginative.

      If you’re asking if you should continue to expand on it, I can’t really answer that question. Only you can determine that. Writing isn’t the hard part — revision is. If you write a book about “The Starbringer,” the first draft might be a big lumpy rock that you created. And then you revise it … and revise … and revise it … and pretty soon you have a beautiful sculpture. Or a diamond. Or whatever. So if your next question is: “Do you think it has potential?” then I’d say, “Sure, why not?”

  4. So then, I take it you’d be willing to read this more ACTUAL plot summary I have (there’s a difference between premise/idea and plot summary ya know 😉 )?

    Note: this was written at a time when I misplaced the Premise and thus, I forgot the names of the home worlds of the Nova Children and Void Hunters. The name of The Void Hunter Emperor I forgot too until I looked back at the Premise. Everything else I need help with a name on, I still need help with.

    “The plot begins with Emperor Hyperious, Sol’s father, and Empress Celestiala, Sol’s mother, having a bad conversation about the fact that Sol, who is a newborn at this point, will have to be sent off to live with the Royal family of the Void Hunters. During the conversation, Sol starts crying and Hyperious consoles him by telling him the origin story of the Nova Children, the Void Hunters, and of their long and bloody history with one another until Sol falls asleep.

    Fast forward to Sol’s teen years (perhaps a few earth centuries later), and he and his Void Hunter servant (an orphan whose really the bastard and illegitimate child of the Void Hunter Emperor (seriously, I need a name for the emperor of the Void Hunters) he had just in case his triplet children were killed while staying with the Nova Children), a runt by Void Hunter standards whom I still need to name, are going on a toboggan ride down the highest peak of the Void Hunter planet (which I also need to name). Of course, they manage to crash an awaken a dangerous creature that looks like it was ripped right from HP Lovercraft (which it just might be). They manage to fight it off and escape by the skin of their teeth. They try to sneak back into the Royal Palace but are discovered by the Captain of the Emperor’s guard almost immediately (I also need to name him). However, he’s cool and lets the fact that they’re breaking their curfew slide. However, waiting in their room is the Emperor who tells them that for breaking said curfew, they are to be grounded for the equivalent of one hundred earth days for the planet and Sol and his servant decide to pass the time by knitting using carbon nano-tubes.

    In the throne room, The Emperor of the Void Hunters chews out the guard captain, who turns out to be his brother, for continually letting Sol get away with his antics and going soft on him. His brother defends himself by saying that the Emperor is just pissy that his wife died after giving birth to his triplets and that he used to be a lot nicer than he was. He also informs the Emperor that he should be happy Sol sneaked out and managed to kill the creature that he did because now that means he can kill an even deadlier creature all Void Hunters (including honorary ones like Sol) must do as a right of passage and that means he can be rid of him. He leaves the Emperor alone with his thoughts.

    A few days later, and the Emperor arrives to Sol’s room and tells them that they’re leaving to a planet in the G-DMZ (Galactic De-Militarized. Zone. Essentially, a portion of the galaxy comprising half of the total space in it that the three Galactic Super Powers (the Tribunal, Sporians, and Bummerians) cannot enter or reignite a Galactic War they had fought centuries ago but that Nova Children and Void Hunters can enter because they are not considered a part of the Buumerian Empire since they are an Enclave) where he shall slay the creature he must for his rite of passage since it’s been hunted to extinction on the Void Hunter home world. They leave in the personal Fighter/Troops Transport craft of the Emperor with Sol’s Servant and the Emperor’s Body Guard along for the ride.

    A few days later, they arrive on this planet in the G-DMZ that I still need to name and stay at the ruling King’s palace since the ruling monarch and the Void Hunter Emperor are friends. However, soon after, a bloody military coo ensues by the Monarch’s son, the Prince (who was sent to prison for, interestingly enough, conspiring to take the crown from his father) and in the ensuing conflict, most of the military forces loyal to the Monarch are killed, the Monarch himself is killed, the Void Hunter emperor and his body guard are captured, and the entire planet and solar system are placed on locked down with non-native sapient life to the planet rounded up in Internment and Concentration camps.

    Sol and his servant manage to escape the initial chaos and stumble upon a group of rebels consisting of the remaining forces still loyal to the King (including a special forces unit known as the ‘Desert Rats’ who use interesting portable cyclone generators to create sand storms, can see in the dark and through solid objects, and who can dig quickly through sand) and off-world and local merchants, mercenaries (like a Void Hunter known as Crya: The Star Hunter), smugglers, gladiators, and concerned citizens. Realizing that this motley crew needs leadership, he convinces them to allow him to be their de-facto leader and organizes them (with him) into a competent guerilla fighting force since they are outnumbered and would probably be blown to bits from orbital bombardments since they lack star craft and the rules of engagement in this galaxy state that if an enemy force’s location is certain and out of the way from friendly areas that it’s better to bombard them from orbit more often than not.”

    That’s…about all I have so far…I think.

    1. Premise, plot summary, or whatever else you have — after a full day at work it’s all just a pitch to me… So, again, I can’t really help you with that. If someone came to me and said, “I have this idea for a guy whose a millionaire, but he runs around in a bat costume because his parents were killed when he was a kid…” I’d say, “Umm, okay. Maybe it would be cool. Maybe not. I’ll have to see the finished project.”

      One of the reasons I started this blog is because editors usually annoy me. They can be helpful, or they can completely bastardize your work. No one can tell me what to do on this blog, and if an idea is good people will share it or comment or whatever. The same holds true for your book. Just write it and believe in yourself. If no one wants to publish it, then self-publish. If no one wants to promote you, then promote yourself. And if it fails, well then at least you did your best. You can die without having regrets.

  5. I finally saw this movie and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It was so much better than the last Wolverine film. There was actually a decent plot and character development. Between this movie, First Class and the upcoming Days of Future Past, i have faith in the X-Men movies again. I still with they were a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe along with the Avengers-related characters, though, but unless Disney and Fox make an agreement that probably will not happen… although Hugh Jackman has expressed interest in a crossover with the Avengers, as has Andrew Garfield.

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