movies_the-wolverine-poster

CLAWS IN EFFECT?
Wolverine: Origins wasn’t a great film, to be honest but expectations for The Wolverine when it was announced were a little bit higher. Originally, Darren Aronofsky was attached to it but he left the project. Enter James (Identity, Cop Land) Mangold to helm it. So we fast forward to 2013 and The Wolverine has hit the big screens. The film begins well: we see Logan save the life of a Japanese soldier at Nagasaki. Then we flash forward to a Logan who is living rough out in the wilds of the US. The Wolverine starts in a very lowkey way, which is a refreshing change from the bombast of the usual superhero fare. But then it starts to take a different direction. Logan is approached by Yukio (Rila Fukishima), who represents the soldier he saved during the Second World War. Apparently he is dying and he wants to see Logan one more time. So through guilt, he is forced to come to Japan but the real reason for the visit is far more sinister and so events are triggered which threaten Logan’s very existence. The original Frank Miller and Klaus Janson miniseries that this is loosely based on was a great story but obviously Hollywood had to mess around with it and so we have a film that starts strongly but gets more and more silly as it progresses. Jackman is good value as Logan/ Wolverine as always but the payoff and the final battle is particularly stupid. Also, the love affair between Logan and Mariko (Tao Okamoto) doesn’t have much time to ring true on screen and the 3D is pretty pointless as it doesn’t lend much to the experience. Mangold does offer some nice visual flourishes here though: the battle on the train is well directed as is the massive ninjas vs Logan fight towards the end. But it does feel that they have taken the character to a visually arresting setting and then stuck him in the same old jeopardy without using the Japanese setting properly. It’s not a terrible film by any means and it is an improvement on its predecessor. It also sets up things for X-Men: Days of Future Past with the obligatory post-credits stinger. But it does feel a little bit like a wasted opportunity. The Wolverine is a fun but forgettable summer blockbuster with some nice touches and a silly third act…


LOGAN’S RUN
X-Men: The Last Stand, released in 2006 was a mixed success. Director Brett Ratner was never going to replicate the acclaim that Bryan Singer received with the first two and so it came and went with a rather lukewarm response. Hollywood has been threatening X-Men spinoffs for a number of years and, with Jackman’s hairy Canadian hero one of the most popular turns in the movies, it made sense that this would be the first one out of the gate. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not without its problems as a snazzy title sequence that sees Wolverine, Sabretooth and other special forces associates fight in a succession of wars from the First World War through to Vietnam sets up proceedings smoothly. But the problem is that, once the set-up is out of the way, the plot which deals with a killer bumping off superheroes, specifically those who were with Wolverine, feels a little bit mundane and lacking in originality. Jackman is entertaining on screen in the title role as is Liev Schreiber, the murderous Victor Creed or Sabretooth, who has a real intensity as a performer but some of the other figures are little more than action turns with Australian Danny Huston as William Stryker wasted here. The action setpieces are fun to watch and the fights between Sabretooth and Wolverine are well-managed but Wolverine suffers from occasionally dodgy CGI and a fairly empty plot. The first two X-Men films had a lot to recommend them and the law of diminishing returns holds true here with a lot revealed about Wolverine already. But if you’re looking for a brainless summer movie, you won’t be disappointed with X-Men Origins: Wolverine however if you’re after a popcorn blockbuster with more heart and a little more in the way of brains, then Star Trek should be your choice…