By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: #TheWolverine is a good movie not a great one. It has more dialogue than I expected. It’s worth watching, but you’re not missing much.The Gist: Wolverine’s Tokyo trip goes awry when a dying man he once saved wants something else more than a simple goodbye.
The Highlights: Hugh Jackman, the train scene and the post credits hidden scene.
Hugh Jackman is not only the Oscar nominee star of this movie, he is also one of its main producers. Jackman is invested in Wolverine and has given him layers of emotional complexities that pierce right through the screen. In this story, the action and suspense are built more on character. Jackman is really a joy to watch here. Also, Tokyo and rural Japan get an abundant amount of screen time; their atmosphere are very palpable and one I enjoyed seeing (some interior scenes were shot in Australia where Jackman lives). One great highlight to note is the robot Wolverine faces at the end – The Silver Samurai. Think it was all CGI? Nope. It’s a real 13-foot mechanical beast that was built over 5 months in Australia. Some scenes with the robot have CGI in it, but not all. Out of all the average action sequences in this movies there is one that stands out – the train scene. Although it doesn’t beat Tom Cruise’s sequence in Mission: Impossible, Mangold puts Wolverine on top of a bullet train slicing up bad guys. Finally, the biggest highlight is at the end when the post credits roll. Two characters appear that had the whole theater howling of emotion. Let’s just say, “when a mind meets a magnetic force” anything can happen.
The Lowlights: Excess dialogue, modest action.
It almost seems like every Hollywood director today who gets involved in a superhero movie, wants to make a character study film. Ang Lee did it with Hulk, Jon Favreau with Iron Man and Matthew Vaughn with X-Men: First Class. Favreau and Vaughn did great jobs with their particular films, but if you asked me, the entertainment value wasn’t the one I got from Joss Whedon in The Avengers or The Dark Knight with Christopher Nolan. This is what director James Mangold did with The Wolverine. There is so much talking here that at one moment I thought I was watching a romantic drama. The action here does not propel the movie forward, the dialogue and situations do. Mangold serves up copious amounts of exposition to secondary characters who are constantly explaining why they do things. It was a bit of a downer. I want Avengers, Man of Steel action in my movies, not yawning hand to hand combat scenes anymore.
Pay or Nay?: Pay for it because it is a watchable film. The Wolverine is a different type of superhero movie, a more tempered one. It’s mission is not to overwhelm with its action, but with its story and affected characters. We’re supposed to understand him as a human, not as a monster. The story isn’t bad, it’s just not as entertaining as the trailer made it out to be.
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Screenplay: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank
Director(s): James Mangold
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Film Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy