The Wolverine Screen 12 articles

The Wolverine

2013

The Wolverine Poster
  • James Mangold is a reliable, workmanlike director, and so unsurprisingly he has crafted a reliable, workmanlike film, sturdily built and passably enjoyable. But it suffers from a terrible lack of imagination. Instead of the wit and irreverence of Iron Man 3 and The Avengers it trades in something more self-serious, though it stops short of Nolanesque portent and gloom. It's caught somewhere in the middle: dour, unintentionally silly, and (worst of all) bland.

  • Like so many of this summer’s comic-book movies, particularly the hollow, forgettable behemoth Iron Man 3, The Wolverine represents a missed opportunity. Mangold tilts the movie heavily toward elaborate action sequences and skimps on the more romantic angles, which is especially frustrating since Jackman is the kind of actor who can deftly handle both.

  • The opening 45 minutes of The Wolverine suggest a cool, measured drama that's dashed with melancholy... Alas, all of this good work counts for squat as the film dutifully mutates into a tawdry caper in which Logan is must save a local damsel in distress while having to deal with (temporary) reduced powers.

  • To the end, Jackman aims higher than the material, even as its busyness feels like a foregone conclusion. It’s You Only Live Twice without the Nancy Sinatra song—Hugh could have killed that.

  • When Travolta danced in his loincloth (under Stallone's direction, too), it was vanity. When Moore shaved her head and did one-arm pushups, it was politics. With Jackman, it's neither. Whether he's cutting open his chest and feeling around for his heart, pretending to slice into the roof of a speeding train, or holding onto grating that overlooks a cliff, Jackman is giving us the camp of martyrdom.

  • The production design and fight choreography show craft, but ultimately, as in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), the plot boils down to an evil genius’s obsession with creating a new being from used parts. It may be a streamlined, 21st-century take on the Frankenstein story, but it’s not an improvement; for a 3D adventure, this noisy action fantasy falls as flat as cardboard.

  • Wolverine’s death-wish is the most intriguing part of The Wolverine – yet the film remains a curiously muted blockbuster... The result feels less like a big Hollywood film than a very special, going-to-Japan episode of a ‘Wolverine’ TV series.

  • Knew zilch about this going in, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's almost entirely set in Japan. That novelty only carries it so far, alas. Logan's regenerative power has always made him a dull combatant, so stripping him of it was a smart move; the film takes little advantage, though, and only the bullet train "fight scene" (which is mostly acrobatics and would work equally well, if not even better, swapping Spider-Man in for Wolverine) qualifies as remotely memorable.

  • ...The Wolverine suffers most from its plot's eventual lack of risk, as the movie proceeds to include a contrived romance, a pile-up of double-crosses, a lengthy villain's manifesto, martyrdom, and fisticuffs with an end-level monster—because, well, that's what happens in the finales of Hollywood flicks these days. Luckily, the film establishes an initial brute strength and uniqueness that work wonders to sustain its merit.

  • “The Wolverine” comes close to being a low-key character reboot, and along the way delivers a solid, popcorn-flavored action-adventure that should delight genre fans, as well as admirers of Jackman’s alarmingly muscled physique. While this movie lacks the ambition or the scale of “Iron Man 3” or “Man of Steel”... taken on its own terms “The Wolverine” is the cleanest, least pretentious and most satisfying superhero movie of the summer.

  • By concocting a relatively intimate narrative in which the adamantium-framed self-healing feral mutant can (reluctantly) do his slashing and snarling, [Mangold and Jackman have] created a viable summer blockbuster that feels genuinely fresher than most.

  • Anchored with a strong cast, The Wolverine is tied together by Mangold’s ability to shoot exhilarating action sequences. Though the Japanese setting could have been tokenism, Mangold incorporates traditional spaces into the film’s fabric, flinging ninjas through sliding shōji doors and Shinto shrines alike. The pièce de résistance, however, is an extended fight sequence on top of a Shinkansen high-speed train.

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