Tuesday, 20 August 2013

[REVIEW] - The Wolverine 3D

The Wolverine Japan samurai sword poster

Director: James Mangold (3:10 To Yuma, Girl, Interrupted)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto
Certificate: 12A
Run-time: 126 minutes

IN SHORT: Despite terrible writing, The Wolverine just about claws its way to a one time watch rating with great visuals and some stunning fight scenes.

Working in a cinema means I overhear conversations as customers are leaving the screen in a half-blind stupor. And whilst eavesdropping upon people filtering out of The Wolverine, I've found that there really isn't a consensus regarding Marvel's newest offering. Some are tarnishing it the 'worst X-Men movie ever' whilst others are running out with big grins on their faces hailing it a return to form for the character. I hate to sit on the fence but I'm somewhere between these two extremes, neither loving, nor hating the film.

Let's get the bad outta the way first. The script is all over the place, with inconsistent characters, bad guys turning good for convenience sake (who the hell was 'Asian-Hawkeye' working for?!) and a painful over-reliance upon dream sequences. The Wolverine is cluttered with background characters and with half of them double-crossing or just plain disappearing for large segments, it's sometimes difficult gauging just what the hell is really going on. An obligatory but completely unnecessary sex scene further bloats the run-time, although it's the perfect opportunity for a toilet break unless you want to sit and admire Jackman's torso.

Hugh Jackman ninja fight in the Wolverine
Ninja's man, they just don't fight fair.

So it's a good job the film holds your attention aesthetically. The Japanese setting is milked for all its worth with snow-covered landscape cinematography that looks stunning in 3D. And a flashback scene of Wolverine's experience during the Nagasaki bombing is beautifully, and respectfully, captured. It's the strongest scene in the film, grounding the movie in a bleak realism. James Mangold also directs some high octane action sequences that get the pulse going if you're willing to suspend disbelief. But the best element of The Wolverine is Hugh Jackman. His portrayal of Logan is effortless and despite this movie coming four years after X-Men:Origins, he looks in even better shape.

When The Wolverine was first announced, I wondered if we really needed another X-Men film that wasn't a First Class sequel. Hadn't we had enough of this mutant's dodgy side-burns? You get the impression that the writer's feel the same way with the plethora of side characters and the futile attempts to make Logan witty (he's not Tony Stark!) If the writer's had scrapped these surplus elements, they'd have a far more stream-lined movie on their hands. It's Mangold's competence behind the camera that saves The Wolverine from being a chore to sit through but whilst I (just about) enjoyed my two hours, I won't be hurrying back to repeat the experience.


  1. Good review Ben. It's not a great superhero movie, but a very good one that focuses on its story well enough to where you care about the characters, as well as the action when it comes flying right at you. Literally and figuratively.

    1. I cared about Wolverine, I felt that the first half where he was depressed and solitary was quite interesting. I mean, this is a guy that can't die but he so desperately wants to. That's a pretty neat concept. But there were too many side characters who I didn't care about at all.

  2. I also felt it was average. And like you, one of the reasons was that I felt it wasn't needed. Actually, FIRST CLASS didn't feel necessary for me either, but they want to milk the franchise as much as possible. However, it's a masterpiece compared to the anime show that followed this storyline. Good review!

    1. I can't say I saw the anime so I'll take your word for it! Thanks VITS.




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