News

REVIEW: ‘Wolverine’ can’t recover

REVIEW: ‘Wolverine’ can’t recover

/Image.net

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy | Run Time: 126 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: James Mangold | Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima

By: George Wolf

The Wolverine seems invulnerable, but on the inside, he’s a heartbroken, wounded mess. Doesn’t that make him dreamy?

Ever since he had to go and kill Jean – the psychotic, clairvoyant killing machine and love of his life – he hasn’t been the same. He just exists, just goes on, pointlessly … kind of like this movie.

The latest in the X-Men franchise is certainly a letdown from 2011’s exceptionally fun and clever X-Men: First Class. This episode finds Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) holed up in a cave, living the life of a semi-boozy hermit, befriended, or at least tolerated, by a neighboring grizzly. But he’s lured out of hermitage by some dangerously incompetent hunters and a sword-wielding young woman with a request from Logan’s past.
Come to Tokyo, she says. I’ll have you home tomorrow, she says.

Wolverine is quickly sucked into yakuza/ninja/samurai/mutant/romantic intrigue.
In Japan we’re treated to too much sentiment, not enough action, and not nearly enough opportunity for Jackman to break out of Logan’s morose romanticism and crack a few jokes. Director James Mangold is preoccupied with honor, courage and love – solid enough staples for a samurai-tinged action film, but a humorless Wolverine is just no fun at all.

The film takes a comic book hero, casts him as a routine vampire cliché (the tragic-romantic immortal who wishes to be human), then paints everything with a mixture of several eras of Japanese crime cinema. But vampires and samurai tales require blood, and lots of it. Comic book movies – even when the hero slashes through everything with metal claws – are bloodless. The combination just doesn’t work.

Mangold continues to take the X-Men path less traveled by supplying so very few mutants. One common weakness of late-franchise superhero flicks is that they throw dozens of villains at you in the hopes of drawing your attention away from script weaknesses. Mangold has the bravery to avoid this gimmick, supplying only on mutant villain, Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova – whose name is exponentially more interesting than her character).

The result? We can see how weak his script is.

The Wolverine does boast some cool action sequences – especially that bit on top of the train – and Jackman has more than enough talent and brawn to keep the movie interesting. But mostly the film dives into Logan’s internal scarring and seeks to help him appreciate his immortality and his purpose. Maybe next he can rediscover his sense of humor.

Verdict-2-5-Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: March 27

beatles

A look back on Hollywood headlines of years past.

in Music

Ed Sheeran surprises newlyweds at wedding reception

Ed Sheeran performs at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Ed Sheeran surprised a pair of newlyweds at their wedding reception by singing Thinking Out Loud for their first dance.

in Music

Taylor Swift named among world’s greatest leaders in new Fortune poll

Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

Taylor Swift ranks two spots behind Pope Francis in a new Fortune.com poll of the World's Greatest Leaders.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Music

Chris Daughtry heading back to TV

Chris Daughtry arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.

Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry is heading back to the small screen for the new TV series "Studio City."