Long-time readers of the blog know me as a prolific reader and reviewer, covering everything from novels to comics to audiobooks to television shows to movies and anime and what not. From 2011 to 2014 I was practically on an express train of consuming varied forms of and disseminating my thoughts on them. And then, all of a sudden the train went off-track and my interest in all of it just petered out. I wrote maybe one review a month, I read maybe one book a month. Same for comics. I was watching more and more television, especially once I got married and got my wife to share in my interests, but the fire of being a reviewer just left me. I had become jaded I suppose. Burnt-out even. Reading ten novels a month, approx 30-40 single-issue comics a week, writing approx 25 reviews a month. I suppose anyone could get burnt out with that kind of a performance. I was just… not into it.
And all of this is on top of doing a fair bit of writing fanfiction and working on various novel-length and novella/short-story projects. I even had a short story published as it turns out. And I submitted various pitches and samples for short stories in the meantime as well.
Somewhere along the way though, I just did not want to do any of it. Enough had been enough. In the intervening time, my most frequent posts have all been about Magic the Gathering, discussing the quarterly previews for upcoming sets or talking about decklists and events and what not. But even that has proven rather unsatisfactory, very much so. As much as I love Magic, even this felt too restrictive, too… work-like. And I just couldn’t handle it.
But something has changed this year. I am slowly getting back into my abandoned novel-length projects. Beginning last month, I am even fully back on the reading and reviewing train as well. As of writing this, I have read five full-length novels, fourteen shorter novels, and a whole bunch of short stories. Even right now, I’m in the middle of an 8-part short story series. And in April I read four full-length novels alongwith at least 13 graphic novels and a whole bunch of single-issue comics. I amaze even myself.
Of course, most of this reading has been from the publications of Black Library as I dip my toes back into the wonderful world of Warhammer 40,000 but all the same, it feels so utterly liberating. The reading catharsis has a hold of me again, you could say, and I love it. I’ve missed so much and it feels great to be back like this. I’d forgotten how utterly awesome it used to feel, and I feel rather grateful that I’m back like this. Not the least of which is that I’m back to regularly blogging/reviewing as well. That’s something I’d thought just a few short months ago that I wouldn’t be able to handle again, but here we are.
Slowly but surely, I’m getting back on the grind and I love this feeling.
Last month saw the release of the much-hyped The Wolverine, the latest in 20th Century Fox’s ongoing attempts to create an X-Men movie franchise. There’ve been lots of ups and downs in the last, what, thirteen years (?) as far as that’s concerned. The first X-Men movie was a great movie that did a lot to help establish Marvel characters within Hollywood, but the subsequent productions, despite their varying success levels, haven’t exactly been on par. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie was a ridiculous attempt at a prequel to the trilogy and though I kind of do love the film because of all the action-goodness in it, it was low on plot and low on character development. The most recent movie, X-Men: First Class, a reboot of the entire franchise, went back into the Cold War era to kickstart the global mutant-hate and was an attempt to tell a prequel with a much different tone and one that would establish the divisions between Professor X and Magneto. Of course, it doesn’t help that First Class officially retconned the Origins movie and that together, all three movies are a continuity mess, when taken together.
And into this mix is The Wolverine, which is seemingly set after the events of X-Men 3 and will ultimately tie into next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will continue on with the X-Men team established by Professor X in First Class and is also a sequel to X-Men 3 at the same time. Which just makes things really confusing.
Either way, this review isn’t really a review of the usual type. I’m taking a look at the new movie and comparing it against its direct source material, Wolverine Volume 1 by Chris Claremont, which is where the story for the movie has been adapted from. In a nutshell, I think the movie is a fairly good adaptation and it is not a straight lifting of plot points or character development, but is something different. All things considered, I think this is one of the best such adaptations I’ve seen.
Note: spoilers for the final act of the movie and the comic will be discussed towards the end of the review.