Friday, July 26, 2013


Director James Mangold’s THE WOLVERINE, Hugh Jackman’s 6th appearance as the self-regenerating clawed mutant, is a superhero/super-being film which will never get lost amongst the large stack of like-minded films. The film’s goal was to clearly put the main character through as much trauma as possible to see what sort of character reactions and progress would emerge. That is the core of THE WOLVERINE; as for the rest…
A year or so after the events of X3, Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is haunted by the memories of his dead love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), whom he had killed. He is summoned to Japan by warrior-woman Yukio (Rila Fukushima), and her master Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), whose life Logan had saved in WWII.

THE WOLVERINE pushes forward with a quiet and gritty tone which takes its time in establishing Logan’s personal torment and current state of mind. As Yashida from the war offers Logan a cure of-sorts, one which would end his immortality and consequently his torment, things shift into a new gear as Logan must wrestle with many decisions. As the plot moves ahead and Logan becomes mixed up in a family feud amidst a corporate espionage scheme, the character goes through more physical and mental punishment then we’ve ever seen him go through before. It’s a lot to handle, but enough to invest in Logan’s story and latch on for the ride.
For such a strong character piece, THE WOLVERINE gets a little too heavy on plot. Things get convoluted in a hurry once the corporate scheming starts unfolding and it’s easy to lose track of who is on what side and why. Throw in an undefined villain for most of the movie, and things suddenly feel off-balance. But despite this, director James Mangold always brings things back to Logan. This is certainly his story and he never forgets it.

The action scenes are fun, although a little too much goddamn shaky-cam is used. Most of the fight scenes are very well coordinated and are very brutal in places. The brutality of it all is shocking here and there, as this is a hard PG-13 film; people are shot, slashed, and hacked in thousands of different ways, and Wolverine the character benefits from every bit of it.
Hugh Jackman fully embraces his character both physically and mentally. The strong material he is given to work with allows him to take the character to places he hadn’t been able to explore before. The rest of the large cast does well, although the most of the characters serve mostly as placeholders and plot points.

The finale is a big ball of comic-book mayhem and fun, finishing off with some very good surprises. All that is then topped off with a whopper of a mid-credits scene which sets up the next chapter in Logan’s life, as well what’s upcoming for the mutant world; good enough and strong enough which will have comic-book fans losing bowel movements and howling at the moon. But back to THE WOLVERINE…the film is a special one in the super-genre as it keeps focus on character in place of typical bombastic summertime fare. Not perfect, but there is a lot to sink your claws into.


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