Friday, July 26, 2013

The Wolverine

Wolverine shows his claws!
Let me start by giving you a couple of pointers. Firstly this is not really a superhero movie for kids. There are a few profanities purposely spread throughout the movie and some scenes that, because Wolverine is a mutant, were allowed in as PG-13 which would have made it an R rated movie had Wolverine been considered a human character by the MPAA. Ironic, when you consider the whole mutant/non-mutant storyline that runs through the whole X-Men franchise.
Also continuing with the rating theme there is implied sexuality which in itself is only implied but for some reason, despite being part of the original Wolverine comic book storyline, just kind of seemed a little creepy considering how young Mariko looks and how old Hugh Jackman looks. I don't know, maybe it's just me but it just didn't feel right. But maybe that was part of the whole anime feel James Mangold was trying to incorporate into the Tokyo-based movie.
Finally, if you plan on seeing this in 3D, don't waste your money. You will not miss out on anything by seeing this in the old fashioned 2D format. Save your bucks for a set of adamantium claws from Walmart this next Halloween.

All of that aside, this was not a bad movie. It was pretty faithful to the comics, it has strong action, a decent storyline and it is not over-filled with mutants and that allows a lot more celluloid space for their strongest asset - Hugh Jackman. It is another fine and physically powerful performance from him. 20th Century Fox have done a fine job overall with the casting of the X-Men franchise and Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine character exemplifies this better than any. But despite the strong performance from Jackman in his 6th outing as Wolverine, something isn't quite right.

There is a scene where the clawed superhero is shot by about 50 arrows all attached to ropes that are attached to 50 ninjas, all pulling him back as he tries to progress forward to save the day. Hugh Jackman, with every sinew in his body twisting and stretching and straining to take another step forward, is riveting to watch.

He IS Wolverine (which maybe explains the MPAA's confusion with the ratings decision).

But this scene serves as a perfect parallel for the entire movie. It snarls and growls and is great to watch - with Hugh Jackman almost literally carrying the movie - but it always feels like, despite him, it is being held back somehow from being the really great movie it could have been.

Part of this movie's purpose was to bring Wolverine physically and mentally back to the X-Men fold, after he had gone AWOL, in time for the next X-Men instalment, Days of Future Past. Unfortunately the method of subconscious/dream sequences that are used to illustrate his personal pain and facilitate that healing path was just plain overused and felt out of place.
Svetlana Khodchenkova as the Viper, while doing a decent job still seems miscast and lacklustre.
The final scene is somewhat underwhelming too.

Listen before I make you feel like this movie is not worth watching, it is. It is good solid entertainment. It's just that is all because of one actor and his ability to make you laugh, make you nervous and make you want to have adamantium claws!

Anyway, do not leave at the end as there is the usual Marvel credit scene that is awesome. And that about sums it up. Finishing a movie with the anticipation of a better movie is never a great sign, is it?

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