12 August 2013

Clawing A Way Back

Despite being in my mid twenties I'm depressingly still not able to grow facial hair. A full beard is completely out of the question and what I can get of a moustache is just embarrassing. Imagine the upper lip of a pretentious French child and that's kind of where I'm up to. Thankfully though, the one thing I can grow is a pair of meaty sideburns which I've insisted on sporting since first being raped by puberty. As a young teen I probably looked fucking ridiculous with my youthful complexion overshadowed by a hedge of spidery pubes that were sprouting out of the side of my face but I didn't care. I still have them now although I think that after about ten years of hatred my ageing face will have weathered enough to, hopefully, suit them. The problem was that when I was young my Mum hated them and I'm stubborn enough that that would be reason enough to keep anything. Nor did it help that to try and deter and insult me she once said, “You look ridiculous, you look like that bloody Wolverine”. Now, I know that I didn't look anything like him at all but as insults go my Mum couldn't have said anything that would make me want to keep my sideburns more that that.

I've been a huge fan of The X-Men since I saw the animated series in the early 90's and Wolverine has always been my favourite character. I guess when I was about three or four years old, I was the kind of cute little boy who loved nothing more than seeing a man stab people in the face with knives protracting from his knuckles. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released a few years ago and was so bad that its was statistically more shit than an actual shit. Considering that X-Men: The Last Stand was also about as enjoyable as pouring vinegar into an open bollock wound, my enthusiasm for the franchise was sadly being replaced by apathy. With The Wolverine now on release I went to see it, although this time more for the sake of curiosity and hope than anything else. It might be receiving average reviews but I guess no matter how much disappointment a franchise might inflict, there's always going to be a toddler in me that's desperate to see a character that glorifies knife crime.
X-Men 3 was shit...

Like the rest of us, Wolverine is now suffering from the aftermath of X-Men: The Last Stand and is rightly living a life of shame. Haunted by memories of a woman that he loved and murdered, he's wandering the Earth like a wounded bear which might explain an early scene in which he meets an actual wounded bear. If you like your metaphors to be obvious and very annoying then this is the film for you. To cut a long story short, some old dying Japanese man tracks Wolverine down and drags him to Tokyo for a pre-death chinwag. Things don't go too well though and suddenly our snazzy haired anti-hero is wrapped up in somebody else’s shit which, despite being nothing to do with him, still results in several attempts on his life. As the film progresses it becomes very apparent that the message it's trying to convey is that 'helping people isn't worth the fucking bother'.

 Okay, so on the bright side I didn't hate The Wolverine but nor did I particularly love it. It is a text-book definition of an average film which to be fair is such an improvement over its predecessor that I think it actually deserves some praise for that. It's like when the thick kid spells his name right and you feel you should pat him on the back for managing not to dribble at the same time. Also, it's good to see that Wolverine is still so enjoyably cool that Hugh Jackman must get into character by smoking cigars rolled with John Waynes dead scalp. Not only that but since his sweary cameo in First Class, he hasn't half developed a fucking potty mouth on him. However sadly I would say that one of my biggest gripes with this film was in how for the majority of its running time he'd had his powers taken away from him. One of the main selling points of the character is surely his mutant healing abilities and so to remove them is slightly defeating the point. When someone punches Wolverine, I don't want him to wince, I want him to get angry and start smashing shit up like a drunk Mel Gibson during the Sabbath. I understand the logic behind him suddenly being vulnerable as supposedly it provides the film with a sense of threat. However does anyone really think that Wolverine is going to die? With the exception of Brandon Lee, there isn't a bullet out there that a studio would allow kill a main character in a valuable franchise.

"My garden needs tending!"
Many people have criticised the third act action sequence as being a bit out of place and although I kind of agree, I still loved every single fight in this film. The movie is composed of two elements - one part mystery and the other part action, but in honesty I think that it's the latter that's done much more competently. The drama kind of feels like a Chinatown for idiots whereas the fight scenes are actually pretty imaginative. For example there's an enjoyable scene near the end in which Wolverine is shot with so many arrows that despite dying and gushing blood from his back he ends up looking like Toy Story 3's loveable Mr Pricklepants. The films problem is therefore actually in its inability to blend its tone in a particularly un-obvious way. It doesn't help either that the end is completely obvious and the villains are a little on the shit side. I won't give away who the mysterious big bad is although anybody who doesn't work out their identity should probably think about waking up their brain from its forever-sleep. Plus there's another baddie here called Viper who spits poison, seduces strangers with a kiss and dresses in green. Short of having flowers sprouting out of her vagina, she's basically just Uma Thurman's desperately slutty Poison Ivy. I guess I'm not an expert but perhaps if comic book movies are going to start ripping each other off then maybe Batman and Robin is the one to avoid.

Still, like I said though, The Wolverine is an enjoyable but average film. It doesn't do anything spectacularly wrong and there's enough in it to make it worth at least two hours of your life. Unless of course you're dying and two hours is all you've got left, in which case I'd just crack on with the consequence-free rape and murder. The film has a strong main character, two well rounded female leads plus it makes good use of Japan as a location and culture. Oh but when I say, “well rounded female leads”, I should clarify that I do obviously mean it in terms of their depth and not as a smutty Roger Moore-esque one liner that refers to their tits. Film is a male dominated medium and so it's always nice to see some non-men get a look in too. Although having brought attention to it I'm sure that they do have nice tits as well. Personally I'd recommend The Wolverine to anyone who hasn't already seen it and I'm sure I'll end up buying the DVD. In fact, now I know it's just a guilty pleasure I'm kind of looking forward to seeing it again.

 Although whilst I've still got you here, I do have a slight theory. A while ago Nick Cave wrote a script that was meant to be a sequel to the film Gladiator in which Maximus was brought back from the dead and became a warrior through time. Is it just me or would this not have been a fucking amazing idea for a Wolverine movie? Just a thought, I guess. I suppose you could argue that, that idea was done in the opening credits of X-men Origins: Wolverine but that was a shit film that we've all forgotten and so should consider my suggestion an original idea. People think that the key tragedy of Wolverine is his extraordinarily long life which inevitably means that he's going to be suffering the loss of a lot of loved ones. But on the flip side to that it also mean he'll outlive a lot of people that he considers cunts. Finding out that someone you hate has died is always a good day if you ask me and I'm already well into preparing my, “Fuck You Piers Morgan Party”. However, for me the real tragedy of the character is that more or less nothing can kill him and yet he still mopes about looking like a fucking tramp. He could make a hell of a lot of money with some sort of Jackass style television show and from that point on live quite happily for the remaining centuries. I know money can't buy happiness but it can buy things that will make you happy, like medicine for sick children, computer games and a lot of cheap prostitutes. Anyway, as you can probably tell I'm never sure how to end these blogs so lets just save me three hours of struggling and say it's ended now. Blog has ended, see you next week and good bye!

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