I’m a comics fan, specifically a Marvel fan, and even more specifically a fan of X-Men. Like any good X-Men fan, my favorite X-Man is…Nightcrawler, actually, but also Wolverine is great. Who doesn’t love that yellow angst-ridden tornado of poor impulse control? As a Wolverine groupie, I fully expected Fox’s The Wolverine to shamelessly cater to me and fans like me. Turns out they did cater to people like me, only by “people like me” I don’t mean “people who like X-Men,” I mean women.
First, a little background on how movies get financed. Rich people called “Producers” dress up like the cat and the fox from Pinocchio and knock on the doors of uber-rich people called “Idiots.” The cat/fox Producers tell the Idiots to put a bunch of money in a hole in the ground so that it will become more money, because one time eleven years ago someone put some money in a similar hole and now a few of the people associated with that hole are rich. Then they promise to call the Idiots “Associate Producers,” too, but they actually continue to call them Idiots behind their backs.
So the Producers go on their merry way, throwing money at various things in an attempt to get more money. But soon the Idiots are scratching at the door. It seems they heard that there’s another hole that turned money into more money. Shouldn’t we bury money in twice as many holes in order to get twice as much more money? Indeed! And so the gritty action film is injected with a lethal dose of romantic tangent and just enough comic relief to be unbearably annoying, no one likes it, no one makes any money, and absolutely no one learns anything from the experience other than to go out and do it again.
The Wolverine may be immune to bullets, fire, bullets that are on fire, and any possible combination of bullets and fire, but he’s apparently not immune to the inanity of film producers. Watching this movie, I could almost hear the producers saying: “But what about the womyns? Yes, 90% of our fan base is male and probably masturbating alone as we speak, but how can we cash in on the market of comic book nerds who would like to take a date to see a Wolverine flick?”
Apparently the way to do that is to spend half of your $120 million budget on women’s shoes and photoshopping Famke Janssen.
So we open with Logan’s nightly wet-nightmare about Jean Grey, the only significantly powerful X-Man, whom Logan banged and then watched die and then killed over the prior X-Men films. Or maybe he banged her twice, or possibly not at all. It’s not really important. What *is* important is that they photoshop the fuck out of this bitch. I mean Jesus H. Christ, can they even legally show this film in the UK with all that CG on her face? I actually watched Hemlock Grove, and I’m here to tell you that Famke, while still a lovely woman, is not a fucking Lord of the Rings elf. If men truly mentally whitewash their crushes to this degree, the entire makeup industry is a waste of time.
Meanwhile the one who is actually supposed to be ageless, Logan, is looking a bit worse for wear. I mean, I’m sure dude could bench the Washington Monument while doing bicep curls with a triceratops, but he’d look like a 50-year-old doing these things, not an endlessly young 30-something. I guess it’s not surprising, though. Between the crapstorm that was X3 and a rendition of Les Mis that, were it a high school musical, even the most devoted parents would walk out on, the guilt alone has probably taken years off his life.
Anyway, so we find out that, in a shocking turn of events, Logan is sad and running away from his problems. Shocking, I know. He’s also conveniently having dreams and flashbacks that remind us of what happened in both X3 (which is unfortunate since I worked really hard to forget all about that film) and in WWII. I would give a spoiler warning at this point, except they showed this in the preview, and you’re a fucking moron if that wasn’t enough for you to figure out that the dude Wolverine saves from the bomb in Hiroshima is now going to steal his immortality.
Then Logan sees a bear, the bear sees him, and it’s typical celluloid love at first sight. When is Hollywood going to present us with a realistic portrayal of man-bear love? So frustrating.
Things take a tragic turn (again), however, and the bear ends up dead. Sad Logan is now Angry Logan as he tracks down the inconsiderate bastard who had the gall to defend his own life against a wild animal. Logan soon explains that revenge is totally justified, since the jerk violated §331, paragraph 12 of the Hunter’s Code. As we all know, the Hunter’s Code is enforced solely by other hunters via bar fight rather than by a judicial body.
But wait! A fish-faced girl shows up and the actual plot begins. The girl is Japanese and obviously very cool due to her edgy hair color. You might think she’s a mutant, since she looks like a fish, but that’s actually just because she’s from a poor fishing village. She wields a sword and the Power of Friendship with the “practically sisters with the richest heiress in Japan” expansion pack. For a second there, it seems like she might be relevant to the plot.
Wolverine’s in Japan, meeting with the man he saved and who is obviously going to steal his powers. Unfortunately Logan doesn’t watch the previews to his own movies, so he doesn’t know this. We meet the heiress, and since she’s pretty, aloof, *and* rich, we know we can forget about fish-face. We also meet the most obvious villain of all time: an 8-foot Caucasian blonde “doctor” wearing 25 pounds of makeup on her obviously mutant face and $20,000 worth of Valentino on her equally mutant-y feet. She gives Logan the “I’m going to steal your powers” look and presses a lot of buttons in the sketchiest way possible.
Unlike literally everyone else, the dying guy gives a pretty convincing performance. Maybe he’s a sweet guy after all. Haha, not a chance! Meanwhile the heiress maybe attempts suicide, and Logan maybe saves her. That part was confusing, but not as confusing as everything that happens next. The sexy doctor has the bug from The Matrix and puts it in Wolverine while he dreams about Photoshop. Dying guy pretends to die, and everyone goes to the funeral. Obvious villain ups the ante on obviousness by dressing like a slutty Star Trek villain, strapping on her funeral Louis Vuittons, and playing Candy Crush on her phone while ninjas attack. Logan escapes with the heiress, but she’s either strong or suicidal and doesn’t want his help either way. We’re all shocked- shocked!- when Logan’s powers begin to fade.
The heroic Wolverine heroically goes to the lavatory where he has another fight with the survivors of the Crazy 88. When he goes back to the heiress she’s all “What’s wrong with your face?” and he’s all “Hrmph,” because a man like Wolverine cares about nothing more than how his face looks in front of Japanese heiresses. They go hide at her secret house that somehow no one, not even her father, knows about, yet it is perfectly maintained. Must be one of those Japanese self-trimming, self-watering gardens.
Wolverine embraces the domestic life by lifting heavy things, because he’s still secretly Jean Valjean because the Les Mis monstrosity WILL NEVER DIE. Also: Florence Nightingale-inspired sexy time! This is the first time Logan actually gets to fuck in these films, or maybe the second, or possibly the third. You’d think this would be exciting, but it’s mostly awkward, because Hugh Jackman is really old and really large and this chick is 22 with a waist circumference half that. I found myself hoping for her sake that the steroids have shrunk certain parts of him down to a more Japanese-friendly size.
During all of this, we occasionally cut to our villainess, suddenly making a small effort at secrecy now that there’s no reason for it. It’s pretty ridiculous to even try to disappear into a crowd when she’s two feet taller than every other person on the island except Logan. She isn’t helping anything with those 4-inch Louboutins, either (shoe cost total approaching infinity dollars!). She uses her height powers to bitch out the heiress’s childhood boyfriend and advance the plot in some way that I don’t really care about.
Domestic bliss is shattered when the heiress is kidnapped (read: bad guys grab her and she does nothing to resist). One might wonder why she’s the only person in this extended family of samurais who was never given martial arts training. Not to worry: Angry Logan is on the case! Men in embarrassing underwear are thrown out of windows, disenfranchised fathers don lobster armor, a few pointless complications are thrown in, and it all leads to the secret lair. In a gesture symbolizing the oppression of bitchy white women, the now openly evil Venom throws off her Fendi footwear and catsuit and is finally free to be her naked, serpenty self. After giving Logan the Miley tongue, she dies or something.
Something or someone saves the day (teamwork? family? love?), leaving the heiress not only single and CEO of Japan, but in possession of Venom’s shoe collection. Oh, but too bad: Venom’s size 10s won’t fit your tiny Japanese feet. So sad. Logan and Miss CEO make a polite attempt to turn their fling into a serious relationship, but who are they kidding? But we’ve all learned something from this experience, such as how to run a multinational conglomerate, I guess. Also they’re making a new X-Men movie, so Wolverine really needs to find his way back to America. After a tearful goodbye, everyone goes shoe shopping. The end.
So, producers: look, I understand the allure of a product that appeals to everyone. It sounds like a gold mine, certainly. But what you actually get when you try to please everyone is crap, or at least something really, really silly. Which is what happened here. Not crap, but a lot of “WTF?” moments followed by “Oh, it’s because girls,” realizations.
Also: buy your actors some Regenerist, for god’s sake.
All my love,