Stunt Granny Audio Presents: We Watch Stuff Podcast

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Yes you see that correctly as it is the dawn of a new era on Stunt Granny. Please welcome our newest Podcast: We Watch Stuff. After two successful runs on the unnamed show we decided to make this a permanent fixture so if you like TV, movies, comics or books then this is the place for you. Ok, not books because really, who the hell reads anymore? This week’s show consists primarily of the X-Men movie franchise. After X-Men: Days of Future Past is the future of Fox’s X-Men franchise secure or was this on par with X-Men: The Last Stand? Why is it that Shahid goes off on the typical comic fan? Would a spin-off movie off all of the X-Men a**hole characters work? What is the biggest missed opportunity in the new Amazing Spiderman franchise? (Yeah that slipped in the convo.) Was the lack of explanation on major plot threads a detriment to Days of Future Past? Why are comic fans such a whiny bunch? Is it even possible to make a movie they will enjoy? Well, all the answers rest in the link below so go ahead and click away already.

 

Stunt Granny Movie Review: The Wolverine

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I asked my wife her thoughts on The Wolverine shortly after we finished watching the movie.  Her response was simple yet telling – she enjoyed the film and characters, was able to follow the action and story, and had an overall entertaining experience.  She wasn’t a comic fan, hadn’t watched any of the other films, and barely knew anything about Wolverine.  Normally that would cause confusion and frustration in a comic movie, but in this case, she was given freedom to enjoy the film for its own merits. An ironic thing these days…

This movie came with more baggage than a displaced United jetliner.  A sequel to The Last (aka the movie that murdered/ruined/damaged the franchise) as well as a follow up to X-Men Origins (aka the film which may be worse than the Last Stand).  A solo story starring Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman played for the 6th time, or 1 more time than Robert Downey Jr has played Iron Man.  James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk The Line) replacing Darren Aronofsky, thus dredging up dour memories of Brett Ratner replacing Matthew Vaughn and giving us the Juggernaut meme we’ve never asked for.  A predominantly foreign cast consisting of two models (RIla Fukushima & Tao Okamoto) making their film debuts as the female leads; Hiroyuki Sanada aka the Japanese guy from the Last Samurai that wasn’t in Inception; Will Yun Lee, best known for starring in Elektra, Torque & Die Another Day (trifecta of mediocre action films) and a tall Russian who replaced Jessica Biel.  Add all of these ingredients to the fact that the X-Men film franchise has been polarizing at best, and sacrilege to the many members of nerd community, and it could’ve been a trainwreck.  Instead, it served as one of the best films in the franchise, and certainly the most thoughtful and grounded.

Instead of going the usual route of giving a synopsis and description, I decided to use the bullet point system on why the film works, as well as tackle certain criticisms of the film.  If you’re reading this, you either already have a general idea about what the film is about, or you’re going in as a neophyte, in which point I won’t spoil you with mundane details.

One of the hardest things to accomplish is a superhero film that isn’t an origin story nor a follow up to an origin story.  Often fatigue sets in toward the character, which leads to more action and characters being thrown into the mix to add spice to the franchise.  Sometimes it works (Iron Man 3, Dark Knight Rises), but usually it morphs into a toxic trainwreck of noise and nonsense (Spider Man 3, X-Men:The Last Stand, Blade Trinity).  The Wolverine avoids that by making it a strictly stand alone solo film.  There are probably a total of 7 characters in the entire film that play an important role.  It doesn’t make the mistake of cramming in a zillion characters for misplaced fan service – instead it allows the story and individuals to breath and live.  This is the Hugh Jackman show, and this is his most honest and authentic portrayal of Wolverine to date: a sad, tortured asshole who is a killing machine, while also struggling to be a man.

Setting – it’s amazing that we were given a mainstream action film set in Japan, with a predominantly Japanese cast, often speaking non-subtitled Japanese.  The setting is effective in taking both Wolverine and the audience out of their comfort zone.  This is a thoughtful, often subtle movie, interspersed with mostly authentic action pieces.  Adapted from what may be the best Wolverine story written, it follows him on a journey of suffering and redemption, struggling to deal with the curse of immortality and loss, while acclimating to a new environment and potential new love.  It’s not the typical save the world or save the girl story.  Instead, we get a Wolverine dealing with the aftermath of killing Jean Grey (payed in haunting dream scenes by Famke Jannsen), trying to find a reason to live….and still kicking ass.

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