Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

July 26, 2013

Claws out!

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 11:45 pm

July 26, 2013

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Famke Janssen

Director: James Mangold

Early on in The Wolverine, we watch an unshaven, disheveled Logan staked out in the wilderness, somewhere in a snowy part of North America, leading a quiet existence surrounded by nature, and haunted by the loss of his beloved girlfriend Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), whom he previously killed. He appears to have an unspoken understanding with the wild beasts he lives amidst, and contempt for most humans.

Hugh Jackman’s sixth outing as Marvel’s clawed superhero may be a definite improvement on its direct predecessor, 2009’s X-Men: Origins: Wolverine. But it doesn’t have the heft of Bryan Singer’s X2 or the sheer inventiveness of Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class.

His nature-loving credentials firmly established, Logan, aka Wolverine, heads to Japan with a mysterious redhead on the urging of her boss, Yashida, whom Wolverine had rescued from a nuclear bomb during World War II. Now a rich business magnate on his death bed, Yashida offers Wolverine the opportunity to trade his immortality with him, so that our tormented protagonist can find the death he craves.

So far, so good. But The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold, quickly becomes a bland love story between Logan and Yashida’s granddaughter whom he must protect from an assortment of villains. Expectedly, there’s a string of action set-pieces including a night-time ninja attack, a face-off with a samurai warrior, and a particularly thrilling squabble on the roof of a bullet train. The film’s climax, which involves Wolverine in a battle against a giant robot samurai feels silly, but let’s face it – at least it doesn’t feature the wholesale destruction of an entire city, as was the case in every other action blockbuster this year.

To be honest, the Japan-set storyline, and the absence of enough mutants gives this film a feel far removed from the typical X-Men movie. Also it’s considerably darker than most blockbuster films, both in terms of the violence and the mature themes it explores. If you don’t go in expecting the lightness of an X-Men film, chances are you’ll come away entertained.

Jackman himself, who’s played Wolverine more times than any other actor has played any superhero, lets his experience with the character show. He delivers a solid performance that is all flared nostrils and pumped chest, then nicely melts into an emotionally and physically vulnerable wreck when the plot demands. For his compelling performance alone, The Wolverine may be worth a watch.

I’m going with a generous three out of five. Don’t forget to stay in your seat for an exciting post-credits sequence that sets up next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past that’ll likely give die-hard fans more of the stuff they expect from an X-Men movie…the stuff that’s missing here.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

9 Comments »

  1. Exactly! This movie is worth a watch for Hugh Jackman’s performance alone! 🙂
    Also, the sequence on top of the bullet train was wonderful.

    Comment by Jigar Doshi — July 27, 2013 @ 12:09 am

  2. Hi Rajeev,

    I agree on most points that you have about the film. It was just an above average film.

    However, Logan’s conversations with Jean Grey appeared to be pathetic copies of Deadpool and Death. We all are aware how badly Deadpool was destroyed by Marvel in X-Men: Wolverine Origins.

    I’m not a comic book fanatic like many people who dislike the Marvel superhero films but I feel that if the story isn’t something that films are lifting from the books, at least characterization needs to be more accurate.

    Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was great, yet extremely inaccurate when compared to what Batman is in the comics – The World’s Greatest Detective.

    There are rumors for a Deadpool film starring Ryan Reynolds, and I sincerely hope they don’t ruin it like they have ruined the X-Men movies.

    I understand you have a busy schedule but would like to recommend Deadpool’s comics. He’s a Marvel’s fourth wall breaking, self aware anti-hero and a game came out recently with him in the lead. The game had great dialogs and the characterisation was spot on (though because of bad production value, the game wasn’t that great). The trailer is here and I recommend watching it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WCcRRs3s6c

    Regards,
    Akhil

    Comment by Akhil Babel — July 27, 2013 @ 1:59 am

  3. totally agreed with this review

    Comment by anish — July 27, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  4. Now a days every super hero movie is trying to follow the footsteps of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy theme.

    Comment by Rahamathulla — July 27, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

  5. Agreeing with what you have written, but I would give it only a 2.5/5..

    Comment by Aswin — July 27, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

  6. The movie needs to be watched in an IMAX for the best effect. Don’t miss the thrilling Fight sequence on the roof of the Bullet train in Japan.
    The story has many layers and in the first half I felt why did the Director choose Japan of all the places even though Japan as country is not much happening currently rather China or Europe would have had more relevance for the same; but he proved me wrong in the second half where the sequence of events unfold with great detail and excellent graphics. Each and every character in the movie is involved in some sort of a Fight sequence, the grand-daughter, her dad, her grandfather, the would be bride, the bodyguard (Red Head Japanese nice imagination) of Wolverine, the guest characters whom he meets at the Bar, almost everyone whom you see on the screen is in some sort of a Fight! Which is an excellent use of cast and crew kudos to the Director. There is a nice twist to guess who the actual villain is. The blend of Graphics and the movie is very well done giving you that right adrenaline rush! I would go with 4 out of 5.

    Comment by Ranga — July 27, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

  7. A very apt review 🙂 I would probably give it 2.5…not much soul for the movie….the romantic angle has no chemistry 🙁 …waiting for the rest of the X-Men team in Days of Future Past!!!

    Comment by sinnn — July 28, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

  8. Hugh Jackman rips some in The Wolverine!
    Here’s What I Thought!
    http://bit.ly/13muBuv

    Comment by Sohan Surag — July 31, 2013 @ 10:15 pm

  9. I wish the movie was made for an IMAX for the best effect. Don’t miss the thrilling Fight sequence on the roof of the Bullet train in Japan.
    The story has many layers and in the first half I felt why did the Director choose Japan of all the places even though Japan as country is not much happening currently rather China or Europe would have had more relevance for the same; but he proved me wrong in the second half where the sequence of events unfold with great detail and excellent graphics. Each and every character in the movie is involved in some sort of a Fight sequence, the grand-daughter, her dad, her grandfather, the would be bride, the bodyguard (Red Head Japanese nice imagination) of Wolverine, the guest characters whom he meets at the Bar, almost everyone whom you see on the screen is in some sort of a Fight! Which is an excellent use of cast and crew kudos to the Director. There is a nice twist to guess who the actual villain is. The blend of Graphics and the movie is very well done giving you that right adrenaline rush! I would go with 4 out of 5.

    Comment by Ranga — August 3, 2013 @ 11:37 am

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