Some films have that special something, and some films seem like they stepped in something. Allow me to help you know the difference, and maybe find you something good to watch.
THE WOLVERINE — PG-13 / 2 hours and 6 minutes / directed by James Mangold / written by Mark Bomback and Scott Frank / actors: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rila Fukushima, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Tao Okamoto
So Hugh Jackman is back for a sixth time playing everybody’s favorite adamantium-assisted mutant: Wolverine.
Is it good? Ehhhh – Sure, I suppose.
It’s not GREAT, that’s for sure. And it certainly isn’t as good as it should be considering the Claremont/Miller graphic novel that this film was initially based on. Which is a shame because that story is FANTASTIC. But little changes here and there (some not so little) in the story have coupled with the clean, slick, CGI-happy, over-produced, studio block-buster aesthetic to create a film that merely does …alright for itself. And a big part of that is because its predecessor’s have lowered the bar all the way to the carpet. **coughORIGINScough**
Is it wrong to want Wolverine to be a gritty character? Jackman’s done alright, but he’s still SUCH a pretty-boy. And that’s no good. I want Wolverine to be short, stocky, belligerent, and hairy. I want him to piss people off. I want him to make me laugh with his devil-may-care attitude. I want him to be a dirty, feral, cigar-chomping, shit-kicking, jerk …with a heart of gold that only a very select few get to see. Everyone else gets the finger.
Jackman works for now, but is he nailing it? No.
My perfect Wolverine would be a mix between Glenn Danzig and Tommy Lee Jones, with a healthy dash of Bricktop from SNATCH, and bit of Danny Trejo. Actually, strike that. I want Danny Trejo to take over. I don’t care if he’s Mexican, as long as he grows his sideburns out at least four inches and he calls everyone ‘Bub’. They can make him shorter, hobbit-style.
But let’s get back to the actual film. So the plot of this one is pretty straight-forward, which is actually something that works in its favor. Wolverine is heart-broken about the whole Jean-Grey-thing (from the third X-MEN), and he has withdrawn to the Canadian woods to grieve and put himself back together. A Japanese girl finds him and invites him to return to Japan with her so that a guy whose life he saved many years ago can thank him.
Of course nothing is as it seems, and before too long Wolverine is tangled up in a corporate takeover, family squabbles, battling a giant Silver Samurai, stopping a Yakuza kidnapping, and best of all: ninjas. Dozens of ninjas emerging from shadows, dropping from rooftops, and hopping around throwing sharp metal objects into people. Good times.
So, yeah: there are problems with the third act, some of the secondary cast can’t act at all, and the whole thing’s really just not gritty and subtle enough for me. But with that said, I have to admit that it was not a complete trainwreck.
Overall, this is a fun adventure for fans of Wolverine, as long as you aren’t expecting GREATNESS. There are plenty of fights in different settings, with different weapons and enemies, so if you’re bored with the story, just wait a moment and a fight will be along soon.
Jackman will be returning to this role sometime in 2014 for the next installment of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.
See you there, Bub.