Sunday, 4 August 2013

'The Wolverine' film review

'The Wolverine'

Director- James Mangold

Starring- Hugh Jackman
Hiroyuki Sanada
Tao Okamoto

It has been four years since 'Wolverine: Origins' left a lot of mutant fans with a bitter taste in their mouths. We had been inundated with mutant after mutant in a film that some how tamed the berserker we had all come to adore, a lot of fans were disappointed to say the least. Then there came news of a sequel, which was going to be based on the famous years of Wolverine's tenure in Japan and then to cap it all off we were given a director, a director of high merit. That director was Darren Aronofsky, from such acclaimed films as 'Requiem for a dream', 'The Wrestler' and 'The Fighter'. Just from the fact that most of his amazing films start with 'The' and were amazing meant that 'The Wolverine' would be in safe hands. Unfortunately talks fell apart and we were then given the news that James Mangold, who has given us such films as 'Girl Interrupted', 'Walk the line' and the superb character drama that was '3:10  to Yuma'. Would he be better? I'll let you know.

This is a  fantastic design, no lie.
It  has been a couple years since the events of  'X-Men: Last Stand' (the horror), and Logan has been in the wilds of Canada reconnecting with his inner hobo. He feels completely lost and without purpose. All he seems to do is have pillow talk with Jean Grey, who looks remarkable for a dead woman, drink copious amounts of Stanley whiskey, which also happens to be the cameo from Stan Lee because he couldn't make it, and befriend a local grizzly, who is just a total dude by the way. He has chosen this path as a way of trying to find peace, especially after the two centuries of loss he has had to suffer. He is then found by Yukio, a tiny little Japanese samurai who has been tasked by her employer to get Logan and bring him to Japan where he can say goodbye to Logan before he dies. As soon as Logan arrives to meet this "old friend" the shit hits the fan and Logan is in the fight of his life, against blonde lady snakes, ninjas who hide in plain sight and a samurai transformer with a glowing sword.

The premise of the story was really exciting to me, especially since I had already read the story it was based on. Taking Wolverine to a place where his berserker rage was a hindrance was a fantastic idea and I found it an amazing read. For the most part this is a successful interpretation of that story and I enjoyed the majority of the character driven scenes of the film. Every scene which has Jean in it is wonderful and well thought out, the intimacy between her and Logan feels genuine and you begin to miss her almost as much Logan does. The fight scenes are spectacular, especially the bullet  train scene, which is just all kinds of bad ass, and Logan's numerous showdowns between samurai businessmen and ninjas - lots of ninjas. The standout element of 'The Wolverine' for me however was Logan losing his healing factor. Seeing Logan vulnerable, yet still fighting furiously is a treat due in no small part to Hugh Jackman's acting his ass off.

It's not a Wolverine film unless Hugh Jackmans abs
are acting as much Hugh himself. I think they're annoyed.

I don't know where to start, I suppose I'll start with the villains, Lady Viper is without a doubt one of the most annoying and uninteresting villains I have ever seen in a film. She is completely two dimensional and has a ridiculous pick and mix of mutant abilities. Not only that, but the specifics of her toxin abilities are never fully explained. This leaves you asking numerous questions about her credibility as a villain and as a character. One of the major problems with 'Origins' was it was crammed with mutants, in this film the sum total of mutants is three, as long as you don't count the dead ones or the mutants who make surprise visits, and I thought this would be a great idea, until I realised the geniuses from 'Fox' had made two characters who were originally humans into mutants. This made these characters less interesting, especially Lady Viper who became a ridiculously frustrating character who seemed to be a cliched 'Bond' villain with terrible dialogue, but worst of all the Silver Samurai was turned from a mutant who rivals Logan in complexity and ferocity, into a baby transformer, that is all I have to say on that, because it upsets me.

So many  problems in this  scene, between an adamantium Transformer who does someting unspeakable to Wolverine.
What he does is unforgivable, I'm saying this about the Silver Samurai and James Mangold.
I explained to you how much I loved the premise of this film, what I left out until now was how I felt about the execution, this was a wasted opportunity, James Mangold could have shown Wolverine go from an animalistic berserker to a refined weapon, a true killing machine. This could have been a visceral wonder which would have given a much beloved character even more depth.
Rating; 5/10

Looking back at my research on James Mangold I should have also put in 'Knight and Day', that would help a lot of people decide on seeing this film or not.