Archive for August, 2013

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The Wolverine (2013)

August 2, 2013

Starring: Hugh Jackman
Director: James Mangold (Walk The Line, Girl, Interrupted, 3:10 To Yuma)

I can’t say I was too excited to see The Wolverine, but with a lack of other options that fit our time frame and a girlfriend and mother that refuse to watch movies in 3D, it seemed like the obvious choice. After the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 and the travesty that was 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine–a film so bad it killed off an entire franchise before it even started–my interest in the continuing sagas of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine had pretty much evaporated. Fortunately, Matthew Vaughn breathed new life into the the X-Men franchise in 2011 with First Class and then The Avengers put everyone on alert, and the result is a pretty good solo Wolverine flick.

Interestingly enough, The Wolverine acknowledges the previous X-Men films–even the shitty third installment that includes the death of Jean Grey–and manages to bridge the gap between time periods and tell its own story, all while not totally sucking. That’s an accomplishment after the terrible origin film. Obviously Hugh Jackman is great as the title character and while this film doesn’t really challenge the actor’s abilities, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role.

Setting the film in Japan was a good concept. I liked seeing Wolverine interact with mostly human characters in an environment you wouldn’t really expect to see in a film about a mutant superhero. It was a breath of fresh air in the comic book genre. Although, there was a scene that takes place on top of a train that while kind of awesome and funny, is pretty ridiculous for the human Japanese characters. The two Japanese lead actresses did a good job and Rila Rukushima was particularly awesome as Yukio. In fact, aside from a two hour running time that feels more like two and a half hours, The Wolverine‘s biggest weakness is in its villains. Viper is the main villain in the film and is played by a Russian actress that I’m unfamiliar with. Not only is the character a Poison Ivy rip off, but a white woman playing the lead antagonist in a film with a Japanese setting seems wildly out of place. Everything about her sucks: the acting, the concept, the motive. Ugh. The climax is a face off with the Silver Samurai that, well, is just bizarre. Wolverine fighting ninjas and yakuza? Awesome. Wolverine fighting mutants and old, Japanese men in robot suits? Crap.

Basically, The Wolverine is an enjoyable film that could have been much better with a different final act and more interesting villains. As it is, it’s still a step forward from the last film in the Wolverine franchise, and the mid-credits scene (the best moment in the whole film!) is reason to be excited about the future.

Grade: 5.5/10 (Recommended/Rent It)

Replay Value: Not worth owning unless you’re a die hard fan. I’ll probably never see it again.
Sequel Potential: Wolverine will be making his next appearance in 2014’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: None.
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 67% Audience: 75%
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Recommendation: Not really worth theater prices, but something that’s worth watching when it comes out to rent. I’d rank the X-Men films as follows: X-Men: First Class, X2, X-Men, The Wolverine, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

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