So, if you read the post before this you might be wondering what film I rented. It was The Wolverine. So here's a few random thoughts about it. Spoilery I suppose, but I'm guessing most visitors have already seen it.
I was a fan of the X Men comics and spinoffs in the late '70s and early '80s but this is the first of the movies I've watched. I've only seen tiny bits and pieces of the first, and maybe the second. I just sort of decided to avoid them, because any superhero film won't fit the version in your memories. So I came to this one fresh.
Jackman made an respectable Wolverine. Yeah, he's too tall, but he was probably cheaper than the shorter, better known actors when the franchise started. Seriously, do you want to see Tom Cruise as Wolverine? And of course no "general purpose" actor is going to have a physique like the one Wolverine has in the comics. A pro wrestler might, but Jackman is a better actor than most of them would be.
It's always interesting to see what is taken from the original material and what is altered. For example the bit with the bear in the opening sequence comes partially from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's original Wolverine miniseries from 1982, as do other bits in the movie.(Ah, Frank Miller, before we all knew he was nuts.) On the other hand we get alterations like Yukio with long red dyed hair, versus the short undyed 'do of the original, and a blonde Viper. Seriously, a blonde Viper? And giving them both powers is a bit annoying, although Yukio's precognition might just as well not have been in the story given how little actual impact it had. Meanwhile Viper's powers seem suspiciously like they were in part lifted from another Marvel character, Typhoid Mary.
Some changes are more understandable, and may actual help the movie. For example movie Wolverine apparently knows little or no Japanese, while comics Wolverine is fluent. So we don't end up being subjected to Jackman speaking in Japanese with a bad accent. Although even that wouldn't have been as annoying as films where supposedly Japanese characters do so.
On the other hand Will Yun Lee sounded convincing to me speaking Japanese. In a better world Lee and someone like Mark Dacascos would be starring in a buddy cop picture as a couple of Asian American cops, instead of doing his usual competent job in secondary roles. And of course his character here, Harada, has a major difference from the original, specifically a certain suit of armour.
Nice to see Hiroyuki Sanada in this, although he probably should have had more screen time. As I watched the sequence where Shingen battles Yukio I wondered if Sonny Chiba has seen the film, and what he might think of it and his former protégé's part.
Famke Jansen gets a rather thankless cameo here. She lies around in a nightgown, torments Wolverine in his dreams, sounds kind of whiny at the end, and that's about it. Kind of a waste for what I suspect might be her last shot at the character.
I think the climax of the film ended up being kind of a mess. It certainly could have done with a bit more plot exposition, as what Viper and Yashida actually planned was kind of confusing. There seems to be a bit of a "We don't need to explain things clearly because it looks cool!" vibe going on here.
Well, now it's off to the Redbox machine. This was my first use of one, and since I used their "TRYME" promo code this one is apparently free. Not that a buck fifty a day rental fee will break the bank.