The Wolverine

July 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Posted in 2013 | Leave a comment
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When I was a teen, I collected and loved the “Wolverine” mini-series comics by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller; they were atmospheric; they were adult; and they were a bit heart-wrenching.  The film based on that mini-series has little of the first, virtually none of the second and is devoid on any feeling at all.  Trading depth for a blockbuster sensibility, Marvel has created an action blur with little to recommend.  True to so many modern films, the action scenes were filmed with herky-jerky camera techniques and close-ups that, I suppose, are meant to make the audience feel like we are “there” in the scene, but left me and my compatriots with eye-strain. I could not help but think of the graceful choreography of films like “Crouching TIger, Hidden Dragon” or “Hero” and how much better this film would have been if it had taken those approaches to the action, particularly as the fighting styles are so similar.  Japan is a major component of the mini-series and this film does try to get that piece right, with beautiful images of old villages and new cities.  I liked this best about the film but it takes more than just a beautiful backdrop to create the sort of atmosphere that Miller infuses into his art.  Script writers Mark Bomback and Scott Frank had an interesting idea in utilizing flashbacks of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) to explore Logan/Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) emotional emptiness. However, this was not the movie for it. That story line ended up feeling gratuitous and stole all the energy from the story’s primary love story, the one between Logan and Mariko (Tao Okamoto); it was at the core of the mini-series but was an after thought here.  In fact, the script is a mess, overall, with too many villains (5 by my count), unnecessary plot twists, lazy contrivances and laughable moments (like surviving the A-bomb by hiding in a hole).  The ending is completely changed and robbed of any power it originally had.  I am hard pressed to find much here to recommend.  If you do see it, stay long enough for the additional scene that comes partway through the credits.  It was the most entertaining part of the film, by far, and had the audience howling with excitement.  It was clearly a reference to another classic, early 80s story line (X-Men’s “Days of Future Past) also written by Claremont.  I loved that story and am already preemptively sad for how they’re going to ruin it.

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