Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
2013/ USA, Australia
Director: James Mangold
Hugh Jackman dons the vest and claws once more in this year’s follow-up to X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), though its events take place after X- Men: The Last Stand (2006) making it the most up-to-date of the franchise in terms of story. There’s been a lot of hype about this summer blockbuster but is it justified?
It’s 1945, Nagasaki, and our eponymous, mutton-chopped mutant has (somehow) been captured by Japanese forces and left at the bottom of a well in a POW camp. In one of the strongest scenes of the film that well depicts the horror that must’ve been felt by all who were unfortunate enough to witness it, the city is struck by an atomic bomb. As a young Japanese officer prepares to perform seppuku rather than vaporise in the blast, he is pulled to safety by Logan.
Cut (haha) to the present day and Logan is living the life of a hermit whilst the young officer he rescued, Yashida, is the head of Japan’s largest technology company. Now nearing the end of his life he calls upon Logan to offer up his power of immortality, thereby freeing him of the sleepless nights and guilt he suffers from having killed Jean Grey in Last Stand.
This X-Men film stands out from all others for so many reasons: the first is the amount of female characters that not only are central to the story, but can kick a sizeable amount of arse; even the love interest – so that’ll please the feminists out there and confound the cliché of damsels in distress. The second is of course, the setting. Clearly this film relies heavily on its ‘fish-out-of-water’ storyline taken from the comics and it does make for some interesting viewing. There’s no denying the refreshing feel of a Japanese backdrop to a superhero movie. The third reason The Wolverine is so unique is that aesthetically, it’s dark and moody so I suppose this compliments the character pretty well. You’ll be hard pressed to find a colour that isn’t black or midnight blue.
Jackman proves again that there’s no one more worthy to portray this legendary character but is let down by a pretty average script which, for a movie that was meant to be character-driven, is lacking character. The action’s as primal and furious as ever with a lot more exotic choreography and weaponry such as the katana and bo staff being employed and whilst fun to watch, felt like a short burst of energy between the bulk of padding that was dream sequences and flat dialogue.
It still feels to me like something that could’ve been so much more if only it was given a more interesting script and less of a stop-start pace.
Still, its redeeming qualities lie in its action, its distinctly oriental flavour, and the raw fury of Logan’s portrayal as a tortured soul cursed with immortality with nothing left to lose and even less to live for.
Stick around after the closing scene for the tantalising teaser that’s sure to fill you with savage hunger for the next film in the X-Men saga… Days Of Future Past