The Wolverine

 

Superhero movies have evolved in ways that would have been unthinkable even 15 years ago. They have become more about a personal crisis that our shining knights in armour must stave off first and then save the world. The Wolverine takes off on the same premise; with the prologue showing Wolverine saving a Japanese soldier in a prison camp in 1945 Nagasaki from the nuclear blast we all know about.

 

STARRING:
Hugh Jackman
Tao Okamoto
Hiroyuki Sanada
Rila Fukushima
Famke Janssen
Will Yun Lee
Svetlana Khodchenkova
Haruhiko Yamanouchi
Brian Tee

 

DIRECTOR:
James Mangold

 

RELEASE:
24th July, 2013 (Various Markets)
25th July, 2013 (Australia)
26th July, 2013 (United States)

 

RUNNING TIME:
126 minutes

 

Forward to the present and the soldier is a mogul, only with cancer. He umm, suggests that the Wolverine can transfer his immortality and tough guy capabilities to him and live out the rest of his days like a normal individual. Our hero is living in the wild, trying to keep away from violence and superpowers. He dreams of Jean (Famke Janssen) in bed with him and the dreams are rather well shot too.

 

He finds his way to Tokyo and while he rejects the offer, more than a few ninjas and yakuza turn up to ensure he uses his powers for our entertainment again. There are fights galore for him to show off his skills. The film seems to be paying silent homage to those incredible Asian martial arts slugfests that gave us fantastic film-makers such as John Woo.

 

Our knight also has a new sidekick, a girl called Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who has magenta hair and a sense of fashion that can only be described as bubble-gum/eclectic chic. She seems to know her fighting rather well too and does her fair share of hacking at breakneck speed. There’s a love interest too, Mariko (Tao Okamoto). As well as a new lady mutant, called the Viper who is certainly one of the lower points of a movie that has a fair few of them.

 

The film’s action sequences have been cut in such a way so as to try and impress the watcher with the intensity, but if you try to follow them, you’ll get a nagging headache for your troubles. The saving grace is a scene atop a train where Wolverine battles a Yakuza, reminiscent of Mission Impossible. But James Marigold is no Brian De Palma, is he? And the difference is fairly obvious throughout.

 

Insipid and dour scenes that are rather poorly paced are another major gripe. Hugh Jackman does a good job of what he’s asked to do and so do the others but somehow the whole film comes off across as an exercise in CGI generated slam-bang. I’ll admit I found the X-Men riveting, First Class wasn’t that bad and Origins was worth a watch. So, what of The Wolverine? Flatters to deceive.

 

I’d almost salivate at the thought of a superhero movie that had ninjas and Yakuza taking swipes at our hero. The premise sounds like action porn, I daresay. And yet James Mangold manages to let us down with a movie that seems to lack coherence at its very core, using CGI to mask a glaring lack of soul and detail. A smorgasbord of shiny fights does not a film make, and the fact seems to have been brushed aside as if it never existed.

 

Even as I write this, I know that movies such as this will continue to be made. The next Comic Con will feature another announcement and yet another superhero will try to slash and hack his way as impressively as only he can, deriding our thought processes for hundred dead henchmen. Along with his good friend who doesn’t even try to hide himself, CGI.

 

 

 

 

Responses (2)

  1. Greg Wasdyke says:

    This article has a lot of "you will feel -blank-" in it, and that's gotta go. This is about what YOU feel. Not what you feel I should feel. Also, as a guy whose been modeling and animating since I was 9, I can't help but feel insulted by your insinuations that it's just a layer of Vaseline people throw money at and it appears in movies like it's some sort of shortcut.

  2. I have a bachelors in computer science too,you know. I assure you that I'm not critical of the people who work in CGI . The point that I wanted to make is that maybe, a dash of reality or really good direction wouldn't hurt. As for the power of CGI, I'm a huge fan of Avatar myself. It isn't about throwing money at skilled people, it's about putting a smattering of thought into the creative process. And that is where the movie fails to strike a chord.

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