Adamantium Over Bone Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2013-07-31 14:00:00 No comments

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I saw The Wolverine over the weekend, and I'm gaining a greater appreciation for the sentiment some people express along these lines: "It was far better than it deserved to be", or "I'm impressed how little it sucked". Another way it's been put is how, in a season crowded with movies that have all but dripped with hype, the movies you have lesser expectations for sometimes come at you from behind and earn themselves a place in your heart.

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The Wolverine, I suspected, I would end up liking by default. It derives indirectly from a storyline I've wanted to see on film for literally decades: the Claremont/Miller one-shot which more or less awakened my interest in comics back when it first appeared (and got waved under my nose by enthusiastic friends). A full review will have to wait -- and I don't want to spoil much for those who haven't seen it -- but the movie works very well indeed, and might in the long run turn out to be one of the better things Fox has been able to do with the whole franchise.

I'm always a little suspicious of my own tastes when I like something because it involves things I already have a predilection for. To wit: Japan. (Which was handled better on-screen here than in many other Western films, amazingly.) I had to be careful to not praise the movie just for offering things I know I like no matter what container they come in.

With that comes the risk of projecting insights of you own into the material that aren't supported by the material itself -- e.g., ascribing motives to characters that aren't really there, but which in your mind ought to be there because they complete the picture in a way that you like. I suspect we all do this to a high degree with things we already like; it's our way of paying our respects to the material in our hearts. The most common word for it is interpretation, which is a big part of how we continue to enjoy things after we've finished experiencing them for the first time. If we like something, we go back and read that much more into it, and maybe others see what we see too. Or not.

The biggest danger of overreaching with interpretation, I think, is when a) you're a creator and b) you bank too heavily on your audience to do that job for you as a way of finishing what you started. Then you're flirting not just with being too ambiguous for your own good, but downright lazy as well.

Tags: Marvel Comics comics movies