The Wolverine

Roy Chang
MidWeek Cartoonist

What is your official title/occupation?

Editorial cartoonist for MidWeek, freelance illustrator, author/artist of Cacy and Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i, fine arts teacher, campaign manager for Pepe 2014.


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Roy Chang

Where and with whom did you see the movie? Pearlridge Consolidated Theater by myself.

Overall, what did you think? This will surprise some, but I never watched any X-Men films and did not grow up reading the comics. I was familiar with the character and the storyline going to Japan when it appeared as a comic book series. Seeing it “fresh” was good without having to compare and analyze comic book to movie details. I liked that the film touched on the inner conflicts of Wolverine and having to deal with vulnerability. Lots of long, heavy dialogue scenes between action fights occur. I found the character-driven scenes weightier than the “predictable” fights and overused CGI special effects in other films. I’m glad this story is told now instead of the ’80s (when the comic series came out) so we don’t see the old Hollywood stereotyping of Asians or the “Gaijin in Japan” cliches. Still, most supporting characters are two-dimensional.

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film? ★★★★

What did you think of the cinematography? There were beautiful shots of Japan’s cities and natural surroundings. The CGI and green-screen effects, especially on the bullet train fight and climax, looked too obvious and video-gamey.

Was the message/theme clear? We can easily face and fight all our battles on the outside but it’s often our inner conscience that can hurt us the most. Also, a life amassing fame, power, wealth and honor is not worth it if you lose your own soul in the process.

Did you identify with any of the characters? I picked up on Wolverine wanting to be a loner and isolate from others as well as holding in anger, guilt and regrets. It’s an easy and safe way out, but not the right way. His final lines at the end sum up how a person deals with getting over, letting go and slowly learning to move on.

Did the soundtrack contribute significantly to the film? It was subtle and not distracting, which was good!

Would you buy this movie when it comes out on DVD? May I suggest supporting your local public libraries and check out their DVD sections. Most branches are quick to add new releases to their wide selections of films.

Are you a fan of Wolverine comics? I grew up reading Mad Magazine more than superhero comics. In March I saw an original Wolverine comic book art by artist San Kieth on exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. I love studying the inking and panel layouts for inspiration and learning. Every artist must learn from works by other artists.

How was the film different from the comics? Do you feel the film did justice to the comics? I don’t like how movies change the costumes of comic book heroes, like taking away their red underwear or adding tons of dark body armor. For The Wolverine, however, the film would not work if he had the mask and tights on running around in public. Yes, comic book “geeks” will have their nitpicks about the film’s retelling, but now we’re all in our middle ages. We see ourselves facing the facts of mortality, the body not “healing” as fast as it used to and other crossroads in life. The film tries to balance both action/adventure, but melodrama and mature themes seemed to claw their way deeper.

On a different note, what’s new with you? I just did another manga-style drawing presentation at the Hawaii State Public Library for Cacy and Kiara. It’s not easy to promote a first book, but if local readers would check it out and “like” the Facebook page and help spread word to all ages that there’s a Hawaii adventure chapter book with manga-style art, that would be really appreciated! I’m developing chapter outlines and art for a second story set on Maui. In September, four original illustration pages will be part of a “Manga in Hawaii” art exhibit. Also, this fall, a new book from Mutual Publishing entitled Hawaii’s Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever! will have my cartoon illustrations.