Review: The Wolverine

After the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Hugh Jackman steps back into the claws and mutton chops of the ill-tempered one in an attempt to give us the movie adaptation the character deserves. With the help of James Mangold, the director behind Walk the Line and Knight and Day, the film almost succeeds, but a confused plot and lacklustre script act as adamantium-infused spanners in the works.

Director: James Mangold
Exhibition: 2D
Rating: 12A
Run Time: 125mins

BRB-Score-3

Logan is being held as a POW in Nagasaki when the “Fat Man” atomic bomb explodes. Disregarding his own personal safety (admittedly, this is not much of a concern for him), our hero manages to save a young Japanese soldier named Yashida from the blast. Years later, vowing to leave the life of a soldier behind due to his acts at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan is living rough. He is eventually found by Yukio, a fellow mutant tasked with inviting him back to Japan to say goodbye to the dying Yashida. The taloned one’s vow is soon put to the test (and thankfully for us, broken rather quickly) when things take a turn for the worse in the land of the rising temper.

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Similar to all of the previous X-Men movies, Hugh Jackman is the strongest aspect of The Wolverine. Just as Tony Stark and Robert Downey Jr. seem inseparable, Jackman owns the role of Logan. This time out, he even gets some emotional moments to chew on. Unfortunately, like the rest of the movie, his character arc is confusing and inconsistent. Jackman does an admirable job but the script lets him and the rest of the cast down.

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In a summer where every action movie is attempting to out-‘destroy’ the last, The Wolverine attempts to tell a more intimate story. While it does open with an atomic bomb blast, the focus on Logan is one of its best decisions. Unlike the previously mentioned Origins movie, The Wolverine does not feel the need to surround Logan with a vast collection of mutants. Basing the majority of the movie in Japan not only offers a location we have rarely seen in these types of movie, it also helps to isolate the character, offering us more character moments than we’ve had in all his previous films combined – though there is a wounded bear analogy that is so on-the-nose, you will end up looking like Cat Deeley.

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Don’t think that Logan spends the entire movie crying in a corner – there are plenty of opportunities for the claws to come out. With a character who can heal himself quickly, fights can be brutal affairs and The Wolverine certainly amps up the violence here – one particular ‘surgery’ scene will have the audience squirming. While the battles are largely bloodless, their intensity is not lost. Impact is most certainly lost though in the CGI-heavy scenes – the bullet train scene and the climactic battle are two of the worst offenders.

Hugh Jackman IS The Wolverine
The new setting is… new
The plot and script seem thrown together
The CGI is truly dire in places

The Wolverine is a vast improvement over the first attempt at a solo movie for the character – which is admittedly faint praise. Adapting Frank Miller’s story from the character’s back catalogue was the correct choice but the script needed a few more revisions before it was committed to celluloid. Despite this, I enjoyed myself – there were plenty of good action set-pieces and moments of levity. Perhaps, the third time will be the charm…

The author paid to see The Wolverine
Official Movie Site

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Comments

  1. Urza

    Don’t forget to stay for the bonus scene!

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