Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: The Wolverine (2013)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee & Tao Okamoto
Writers: Mark Bomback & Scott Frank

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was supposed to take the X-Men franchise to the next level. Several stand alone movies were in the works, but the Wolverine movie landed with such critical damage that it was thought that Fox wouldn't make another X-Men movie. Thankfully X-Men clawed their way back and Wolverine was given another chance; a shot at redeeming himself.

Alot of people will look at this movie and think that it's a huge improvement over the first. I agree and yet I still think the movie is flawed. 

Maybe it's the character of Wolverine that doesn't gel with me. I use to be a big Wolverine fan. Read the comics, cheered him on the cartoon series. But when they started delving more into his past, the more they tried to explain the character the less interested I got. So I'm not really sure if these stand alone movies are for me.

The movie itself look pretty and James Mangold really brings a great sense of style to the proceedings. However no matter how much creative juice he put into the movie I just couldn't be roused. Wolverine of the movie had given up and in a way I had too.

Hugh Jackman does a great job. I thought he was the best in the earlier movies, but like the comic my interest in the character waned so not matter what he did, he could never hook me. Still credit to the man and if you loved his personification of the Canadian mutant then you should have no trouble with this movie.  Rila Fukushima who played Yukio was also a joy to watch. Her character brought a youthful energy to the movie that actually managed to grab my attention. However she's not in the movie a lot and disappears for a large chunk.

I guess the movie is actually pretty darn good, considering the greatest problem I've broached so far has to do with my own personal tastes. But that's when we get to the villains. I just didn't care about them. While well acted the script made them pretty bland in my mind. This story is the introduction of one of Wolverine's big enemies, the Silver Samurai. What we get is a robot. A robot who we don't really know about until the last 10 or so minutes of the movie. I really needed a villain front and center.

This all comes around to my personal problem. Wolverine as a movie character has been beaten down and is a broken man. Pretty much cursed to live forever, he doesn't want to live any more. The character isn't dynamic and that's not his fault, but he needs a villain to re-introduce the stakes. There needs to be a big bad who forces him to be dynamic.

On a smaller scale you do this simply by throwing hired goons at him. In that regards Wolverine is actually pretty good with some fairly decent fights. Yet again there is actual talent in this movie, it's just in the grander scheme of things the fights were hollow for me.

The Wolverine is a weird movie for me. I can see that it's a well done movie, I can see people with alot of talent at work. However if I can borrow a phrase from Stephen King, its like this beautiful care with no engine, it's nice to look at but it can't go anywhere. Or something to that effect.

0 claws out of 1
Others may have a great time with this movie but I'm burnt out on Wolverine. 
0 claws out of 1
They wanted to create an epic redemption story but forgot to make a great villain to create that.
1 claw out of 1
Hugh Jackman is Wolverine.
1 claw out of 1
James Mangold brings some great style to the movie.
1 claw out of 1
A nice visual treat.

3 claws out of 5
A good movie that just felt hollow to me.

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