No claws for big applause
AN an entertaining enough addition to the X-Men franchise, The Wolverine meets the bar rather than raising it.
A large part of what makes the movie watchable is Aussie Hugh Jackman, who owns the part of angry mutant Wolverine (aka Logan). With a hectic physique and signature mutton chops, he’s fantastic as always in the role that first made him a household name.
Filmed in Australia, but set largely in Japan, The Wolverine picks up after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, when our metal-clawed hero is not doing well. Guilt-ridden by what befell his love Jean Grey, he’s struggling to live with himself, which is kind of hard, considering his healing powers make him essentially immortal.
But then, a person from his past invites Wolverine to Japan and reveals he doesn’t have to suffer for his lengthened lifetime – there’s a way for his powers to be taken. When they are – without his consent – Wolverine is faced with his own mortality as he tries to protect a Japanese heiress from danger.
Directed by James Mangold, it’s not that this film, the second spin-off for Jackman’s character after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, isn’t entertaining. It’s just a little disappointing for those that hoped to be blown away.
The backstory involving the Nagasaki atomic bombing is interesting, as is dropping Logan into an entirely different world in Japan. But there isn’t a great villain here. Instead, a Poison-Ivy type woman named Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) is quite onedimensional. In comparison, two new female characters – bodyguard/ninja Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and heiress Mariko (Tao Okamoto) – are complex, particularly the former.
However, the romance that emerges isn’t believable and for the bigger geeks it’s illogical that Wolverine cannot regenerate, yet he has no problems whipping out his claws without showing the effects.
The best parts of The Wolverine are when Jackman’s going hell for leather. Some excellent action sequences include a bullet-train fight and a spectacular martial arts display by Fukushima.
Stick around after the credits for one of the best bits – a meeting with old friends and an exciting link to next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The Wolverine opens today.
– CARIS BIZZACA
Svetlana Khodchenkova and Hugh Jackman star in