Monday, July 29, 2013

The Wolverine (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing, about the latest from the X-Men universe "The Wolverine" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.



 Hey Marvel, you do remember there are X-Men, other than Wolverine, right?
“The Wolverine” is the latest movie from Marvel in the X-Men franchise and as you might guess from the title it centers on what our friend with the metal claws has been up to since X-Men:The Last Stand. Apparently it involves a lot of self pity and skulking around the Canadian tundra. After a mysterious friend requests Logan’s presence in Japan things begin to unravel pretty quickly, both for our hero, and unfortunately for the movie as well. Yep, “The Wolverine” is a disappointing return to the modern X-Men timeline, but not necessarily because it’s a bad movie, it’s just that its a bad X-Men movie. I’ll try to explain in a bit but first lets hit where the movie succeeds.
First of all, Hugh Jackman is once again really good as Wolverine, there is a reason that he’s been in all 6 movies in this universe, and that two of them focused solely on him. He’s great. His fight scenes are intense and his line delivery is spot on. He has this character locked in and his connecting on those classic Wolverine verbal jabs is my best thing about the movie. I should also mention that the martial arts in the fight scenes were also some of the most inventive and well choreographed I’ve seen lately. Unfortunately, the action scenes themselves are all stuff we’ve seen before. A fight on top of a moving train? really? And they are few and far between. And that’s really the main problem with this movie, there isn’t much fresh, and not much happens. It’s actually kind of boring. In fact, 2 minutes into the credits is an added scene that in 30 seconds has more life and excitement than this entire movie.
Now I think what they were going for here was a new kind of superhero movie with more of an emphasis on thematic interplay and character depth, and in that regard the movie actually succeeds. But when I go to a summer blockbuster I expect some blocks to be busted, and when I enter the X-Men universe I expect to have some fun and not just wallow in the self pity of a resigned hero. Someone got some Jean Valjean in my Wolverine and it doesn’t quite work like peanut butter and chocolate. Oh, and you know what else I expect when I go to an X-Men movie. Actual X-Men. Let’s see, we’ve got Wolverine, who we already know really well, a villain who spits venom, and a girl who can kinda maybe tell how you might die. And that’s it. And that’s my worst thing, where are the mutants? You have the most vast universe of super powers in the comic universe and you choose to make a dark human drama and almost completely ignore that mutants even exist? Why take the super out of the superhero movie, especially when it’s one of the main reasons we are going. I also think the finale of the film utterly predictable and falls completely flat. Oh and one more gripe, I’ve officially had enough of Wolvie waking up from a dream with his claws out ready to attack. It happened at least another half dozen times in this movie. I get the sense that in the corner of Wolverine’s bedroom is a pile of alarm clocks with three jagged holes where the snooze button used to be.
All in all, despite another great performance from Jackman, the lack of mutants or inventive action makes “The Wolverine” a tedious lesson in what happens when you make the wrong movie, even if you make it fairly well. I hovered between a B- and a C+ but the awful ending lands it firmly as a C+ for me.
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