The Wolverine (2013)
Snikt!! Apparently we wanted it so badly and while not being wary of what we wished for, we certainly got what was coming. Back like a fastball special, Hugh Jackman returns to us as the ever popular hairy badass with a shady past in a follow-up sequel, sequel to the ever growing (yet unfortunately declining) X-Men franchise.
Almost immediately the film is somewhat off-putting because it’s difficult to tell when it is taking place. As Wolverine himself is a man lost (or trapped) in time, the story is the same. Jumping eras with flashbacks and flash-fowards, all from the memories of a man who oft cannot remember his past, it takes a while for the movie to find its footing and settle into a constant story telling groove due to supreme time-traveling obfuscation. Once its established when our hero is, the narrative then takes an mind-bending turn for the mundane. Granted, there are several action sequences that work superbly but unfortunately its all the middle bits that are supposed to tie the actiony bits together that fall short. It’s the same old story of Wolvie not wanting to be immortal then realizing that he needs to be in order to save the flavor of the fable. The strength of the supporting characters is shaky, with few satisfying nods to the greater X-Men universe, and with a plot line this familiar and thin; the flick becomes more a matter of doing time until Weapon X goes (“my love for you is like a truck!”) Berserker, and cuts some folks into nice pieces.
Casting wise, there’s unfortunately little worth mentioning. Of course Hugh Jackman is back as the title character and absolutely delivers. The ONLY THING he has going against him as Logan is his height. With Hugh being so tall and handsome he kinda towers over the minute stature that the purists know Wolverine is supposed to be. Yukio, as played by Rila Fukushima, bares some mentioning as she comes off as being extremely likable and looking like an actual comic book character and being so darned cute. Famke Janssen returns, via daydream/visions/flashbacks?, as Jean Grey and is somehow more gorgeous than ever. Sadly, all she really does is look good on screen as the inclusion of her character does little to advance the plot besides being a reminder that Wolvie is a tortured soul. However, there are a couple of pretty sweet cameos in the tag, which I won’t spoil here, that are just about worth the time and trouble of sitting through the rest of the flick.
The scope of The Wolverine looks noticeably broader. Even if not actually filmed in the various locales, the implication of the different settings the events of the film take place are somewhat reminiscent of a Bond picture. While not being as far travelled and Mr. Bond, The Wolverine does manage to make use of the interesting environments in the background. Given the comic-book and fantastical nature of the subject, this is a fairly effects light flick. Obviously there’s some rendering involved when the infamous claws come out, and a couple of the minor characters are substantially effects driven, but at least one of the things done right with this picture is the naturalistic blending of the effects with the forward momentum of the “story”. It’s made unfortunately clear, between the last flick and this one, that when on the silver screen Wolverine could seriously use a more “adult” treatment. That is not to say that the character and the situations he’s put in aren’t taken seriously by those putting the film together, it’s just painfully obvious that parts of Wolvie’s nature and actions are being held back. While this is a smart move to make the product more marketable to a PG-13 crowd, but there could stand to be a more visceral air about the whole thing. Altogether, this flick offers very little to string together an impressive collection of action sequences while utilizing some honestly awkward character moments.
- The Wolverine is our hairy little friend and “It’s a trap!!”