Wolverine #10 & Series: Disappointing

The Episode:

In anticipating today’s final episode, I was excited. Episode 9 was filled with new bits of information and major confrontations, and a goodly amount of Richard Armitage as Logan, doing some exciting fighting and growling. I put aside my distaste for a Logan that could so blithely do things that are so morally wrong and, in my opinion, out of character. I was looking forward to a big fight scene, with lots of the animalistic Armitage as Logan, and to seeing the primary bad guy get what he deserved.

Instead, they gave us an opening scene that is out of left field and takes away from the momentum built up in the prior episode. Apparently (and I had to look it up because I really can’t remember from the movies), this “plot twist” is not so out of line with what happens in the X-Men stories, but it really has no place in this story, in my opinion. Also, a red herring character that has been there throughout has a “climactic” scene that also has nothing to do with anything important. Disappointingly, the bad guy does not have a fitting closure, as far as I’m concerned.

Armitage reading loganI was looking forward to hearing Logan in real time, as was teased at the end of Episode 9. But again, almost all of it is in flashbacks. And Logan’s parts (not the acting) are pretty boring. (Although I was interested to hear one little spot where the English accent comes through, in the line, “the will to survive was too strong.”) So, pretty much, the episode is a major letdown.

But hey, even in this podcast, our friend Armitage has an underwater scene… even though it doesn’t really happen! He just can’t escape it!

The After Show:

Finally, this instalment of The Marvel After Show has Richard Armitage as a guest, in addition to director, Brendan Baker. They had been building up to this for the previous nine episodes, having all the guests do their best Wolverine voices, pretending that they were buying shampoo, or a car, or something equally inane. (Armitage, in fact, suggests that the claws would make Logan an amazing sushi chef! But that he might have a difficult time using the bathroom when the claws are out!) But do you think that they ask Richard Armitage to switch into the voice? Well, other than some pretty awesome growling at the start and maybe a couple of words at the end… no. Instead everyone else again does their Wolverine impressions.

In today’s After Show, the guests are actually there for the whole time, but I have to say that this episode is probably the least informative. Christina Harrington, now-former assistant X-Men Editor at Marvel is a knowledgeable host, but the tone of all ten After Shows is so annoying that it is hard to find the nuggets of information. We do find out in this one that Armitage “probably got through about two bottles of wine (!)” the night before in order to dehydrate and make his voice rough. He says, “I haven’t drank in around two years. So I turned up on that morning, for the bar scene, kind of in bar scene mode. I had a really bad hangover and I was like, ‘That was, that was not a good idea.’ But it kind of worked… I couldn’t find the voice without going to that place.” They also talk about how Logan really doesn’t smell very good, and Armitage jokingly says, “I really brought that!”

Armitage reports that his brain created the spoken scenes in his visual memory, even though they didn’t really happen. For example, there is a scene where Logan is perched on a window ledge talking to someone, and Armitage remembers it as if he were actually on the window ledge. He did, however, actually smoke a cigar for a scene, which was totally forbidden in the studio and which made him a little bit “coughy”. As we know, the actors in the podcast got pretty physical, rolling around the floor, with Armitage even “eating some guy’s leg… I was hungry, man!” If you want to see some physical Armitage, take a look at the behind the scenes video that dropped today. But be careful if you plan to listen to the podcast eventually as the fight could be a bit of a spoiler. (Thanks to Servetus for pointing out the video.)

The director affirms that scenes were done out of sequence to accommodate schedules and that the whole thing was “shot” in ten days. He also says that there are clues to various things throughout that, if we listen again, we would pick up. He won’t tell us because, “I want you to go and listen to the whole series again.” Yeah… no. I will definitely not be doing that.

The Series:

  • Armitage was excellent in the role, with a really growly, animalistic sound. I expected that Armitage, as the main character, would be heard a lot. Unfortunately, the decision to keep the Logan/Wolverine character in the background really wasted the performance. And frankly, it also made the story more dull than it needed to be. Most people would be listening because they were fans of either Wolverine or Armitage, so I suspect that many people were disappointed.
  • The acting was really good by pretty much all the actors, particularly in moments of stress and emotion. The only one I found not believable was the doctor, who just seemed way too excited and unprofessional.
  • The sound design was quite fabulous, and I found it really interesting to hear about the making of the podcast in the interview portions of the After Show (which otherwise was annoying). However, great sound is not enough to make a great podcast.
  • The story was not compelling. The characters had almost no backstory that was shared with us and so we ended up not caring what happened to them. There were characters just thrown in as red herrings, whereas the time could have been better spent expanding on the more relevant characters.
  • The gruesomeness and animal cruelty depicted was really offputting.
  • There were a couple of exciting episodes, particularly #9, but overall the podcast was pretty slow moving.
  • The final episode was dull and didn’t resolve things in a satisfying way.

Overall, very disappointing.

10 thoughts on “Wolverine #10 & Series: Disappointing

  1. I ended up thinking that huge parts of the plot (the Langrocks’ depredations, the Aurora Cult) were red herrings / unrelated to the actual conclusion, and that you would only care about the conclusion if you were a very dedicated fan of the series, and even that group never believed Logan was the killer so the ending can’t have been all that interesting to them.

    I was offended by the early episode 10 plot twist, insofar as I understand the rules of effective plot to be strikingly different. If one is surprised by the conclusion of a procedural, the story should be striking enough that one can say, oh, yeah, I see now how that thing I noticed but didn’t understand was a clue to the ending. (This is typically what happens to me in a mystery novel where I don’t deduce the solution — I say, oh, I didn’t get it, but this thing I didn’t understand should have told me.) The story should be complete on its own and memorable enough to tell itself without interventions from explainers or insistence that one repeat it. The reader shouldn’t have to listen to the entire story again to find the conclusion plausible. That’s just poor writing — whether or not one cares about the Wolverine story or the MCU.

    I’m not entirely sure I believe he came to work hungover, but I thought it was interesting that he hadn’t drunk in two years. I found the cigar story surprising. He’s never struck me as a rule breaker. I thought the sushi jokes were funny.

    I felt like they were fairly clearly signalling that they expect there will be a continuation of the story in Japan. If the business model is the same, I’ll wait until it becomes free to try it. I’m not paying for this (IMO also offensive) nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, if the last episode had been really exciting and just focused in real time on Logan’s search and final confrontation, I think I would have felt it was worth it to listen to the podcast. As it was, it was just a let down. I was pissed off by the plot twist at the beginning of the episode, like they had put one over on me again in getting me to listen to something I found stupid. Like the various red herrings that were so unconnected to the main plot.

      Yeah, I somehow doubt a professional like Armitage would actually drink 2 bottles of wine and come to work hungover. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration. I wonder if he means he hasn’t drunk heavily in two years, rather than that he hasn’t had a glass of wine with dinner.

      I agree that he doesn’t seem like a rule breaker, but I could see him getting so carried away while sunk into a part that he ends up breaking rules. I think Armitage is quite funny and I really like his quick wit. It’s just that the tone of the After Show is so annoying.

      Sounds to me as well that there will be a season 2 in Japan. I’m not particularly interested.

      Liked by 2 people

      • yes — that plot twist made me violently angry; it was a big FU to the listener IMO. I agree it would have been useful to learn more about Logan earlier on. The story still wouldn’t have had to be written from his perspective (although that is the approach I’d have chosen, for obvious reasons). But he would have had to be more important to the story as opposed to incidental to it.

        That was the only aftershow episode I’ve listened to — to me, the major irritant was Jerah. Christine actually had a lot to say and I’m sure knew more about Wolverine than either the director or Armitage. Although I suppose that could also be problematic — if she embarrassed them in some way.

        re: drinking: I never know how to interpret what he says. Probably not least b/c the UK has a very particular drinking culture that’s unfamiliar to me. I remember Ian McKellen saying when he met Armitage at the Hobbit meet and greet that Armitage only drank apple juice. But then all the stuff about getting through the Hobbit by drinking a lot of wine. Or — he appeared a little buzzed after the Saturn Awards. I suppose the significance of “two years ago” might be that he was trying to get so thin for LLL? But he’s rarely very exact about dates, either.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I suspect the cutting out alcohol is part of diet, and it makes sense, big calories there so easiest to control that way. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if it were indeed none apart from some special celebration or New year’s and the like.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Christina was very knowledgeable, and it’s too bad that the interviews had to be in this ha-ha format. She was an assistant editor for X-Men comics at Marvel so for sure knew her stuff, where this subject is concerned.

          Maybe you’re right that not drinking was partly to get super-thin. I think he could still stand to put on a bit of weight, though, so maybe a glass or two wouldn’t hurt! (But not a bottle or two!)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yep, sadly an expensive disappointment that i really don’t care to revisit or continue. I did like the small Logan bits peppered across the series, especially bar scene and drunk phone call. But other than that… meh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and I opted for the full-year fee, figuring it was cheaper on a monthly basis. But I can’t see actually listening to Stitcher podcasts anymore so I should probably cancel so I don’t forget and end up with an automatic renewal.

      Like

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