Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Wolverine

Movie Name: The Wolverine
Year of Release: 2013
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee, Hal Yamanouchi, Ken Yamamura
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4

Following the quickly forgotten "Knight and Day", director James Mangold is back, tackling a project that was originally going to be directed by Darren Aronofsky. "The Wolverine" is a sequel to the mediocre Gavin Hood film, "XMen Origins: Wolverine". The film introduces us to Wolverine/Logan, who is in deep isolation after the events of "X-Men: Last Stand" and the death of Jean Grey (for which he feels responsible). Wolverine is tracked by a young resourceful Japanese woman, who is working for a man he saved when Nagasaki was bombed during World War 2. This man is dying, and wants to thank Logan for saving him. When Wolverine arrives in Japan, he is startled to hear that Yashida (the dying man) has become one of the most powerful men in Japan, but also that he can offer him a way to gain his mortality. This is part of a larger plot as Wolverine quickly discovers.
What has always been interesting about the Wolverine character and the XMen stories, is the fact that all these characters are suppose to be outsiders, who though saving mankind, are persecuted by those they save. Wolverine has however always been the rebel and the outsider, even as a part of the XMen. This story in particular tackles a specific series that had Wolverine being in Japan as a Samurai - the film references diverse films, such as Sidney Pollack's "Yakuza", but struggles in finding an identity of it's own. The writers and director, tried to create a mood and provide character development, but ultimately the story feels and looks uninspired, making Wolverine a dull character (again the traditional love story with a woman who barely emotes anything). His quest to find himself and his own mortality feels tired at this point, as does some of the villainous characters in this film (what's the point of having ninjas in a film, if you don't give them much to do). The overall look and feel of the film are again generic and absent of a specific point of view. A wasted effort.