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Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Wolverine

Genre: Action/Adventure
Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, 
Running: 129 Mins

If there is one thing we can all agree on in terms of X Men's prolific Wolverine character, is that Hugh Jackman enjoys the hell out playing him. And while X Men: The last stand (2006), along with Wolverine (2009) have been pretty much steam rolled and crapped on by not only comic book fans but movie buffs as a whole. Hugh is undoubtedly adamant in providing cinema-goers with a longer lasting taste in their mouth this time around, and that taste doesn't necessarily have to be a bitter one.

The Wolverine is a more in depth focus on Logan's struggle to overcome the fact that he has and will more than likely continue to struggle with his mutant ability. Following the events of The last stand, Logan is located out in the cold (literally) as his wolverine skills are put to good use as his choice of a nomadic lifestyle results in a homeless rugged wolverine. His dark days are spent suffering with regrettable nightmares relating to Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Logan is hunted down as the great "Wolverine" by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and invited to Japan where he will be tested of his true desire with Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) offering him the chance of immortality. It is the event of that meeting that leads Wolverine into a physical battle of emotion and choices as Logan is caught up in an internal war, as Yashida's niece (Tao Okamoto) is targeted by the sleazy Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) and her cohorts. 

Logan is attacked from all angles as he begins to realise that the Viper is after much more than Yashida's niece,  leading him into the fight of his life even if it means losing a lot of blood. Wolverine embarks on an exciting warpath, one that involves less exaggeration (Helicopter battles free) and some straight up gut wrenching!

Directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line), The Wolverine is an explosive adventure when it needs to be, adding a touch of drama when it mattered. Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is far more engaging this time around, as you follow him from the events in Japan, to the cold woods right through to his battle with immortality, you pity the Wolverine at times, particularly in his struggle to let go of his true love that was Jean Grey (X.Men).

The staging premise in Japan is a wonderful set, giving off quite a comic book feel with a dark twist. While the overall cast is not much to brag about, the chemistry between Jackman and Rila Fukushima is very surprising as you will find yourself rooting for Rila's kick ass character just as much as Wolverine.

The Wolverine stages some satisfying action scenes such as the scrap on the bullet train, and while it is probably the most far-fetched scene in the entire movie, you understand the concept and quickly adapt to the vision of Mangold which ultimately leads to a showdown of many battles. Numerous villains such as The Viper, Shingen, Noburo (excluding the abundance of cohorts) is one flaw of the movie as it appears messy at times and quite direction-less as there is no official focus on a particular villain which can lead to you completely forgetting who you should fear until they get screen time. The Viper is probably the worst villain played in any Marvel movie so far. Maybe it was the actor or the writer's job, but she was plain and simply crap, dull, characterless and just down right careless. She reminded me of Uma Thurman's poison Ivy performance; poor and downright irrelevant. The Viper is noticeably filled in to add a touch of dangerous femininity which turns out to be boring!

We could talk of the bullshit romance that unexpectedly develops for Logan, but let's not be too harsh; with great cinema comes great stupidity, and the wolverine, make no mistake, throws in some stupidity but nowhere near the car crash that was X.Men Origins.

The Wolverine is really enjoyable, with Hugh Jackman's admiration for the character shining brighter than ever. Whether this will lead to another X.Men flick time will tell, but if it was a choice between another "tired" Patrick Stewart X.Men, or an official Wolverine sequel, a Wolverine sequel would probably come off better.

Overall: A great action flick under a well designed premise, and while the villains could have had more character, it is still highly entertaining.



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