Why The Wolverine is Kinda Awesome
- Category: Film
- Published: Wednesday, 25 September 2013 17:07
- Written by Jubby
“Definitely not the worst X-film, but still far from the best”
Another summer has come which, of course, means another set of comic book movies arriving in cinemas. Personally, I love comic book movies so I hope this trend doesn’t end anytime soon. But anyway, here we are with The Wolverine, the latest addition to Fox Studios’ X-Men canon. And it’s pretty good, but doesn’t quite reach the greatness it strives for. (Nor the greatness of X2 or First Class, as a matter of fact).
I’d just like to say right now that I really like the character of Wolverine, especially how Hugh Jackman portrays him on screen. I really couldn’t see anyone else taking over from Jackman, and I have a feeling very few can. He has consistently been one of the better fleshed out characters of the X-Men movie universe and I feel the way Jackman portrays him is partly why. In fact, the character of Wolverine has rarely been stronger than in this film. You really get a glimpse into his mind and how he truly feels about himself and his powers. The trailers all have the slogan of “When he’s at his most vulnerable he’s at his most dangerous”, which certainly does ring true in this film. Though, and this could be because of the family-friendly nature of the film to keep it a 12 certificate, you don’t ever really feel Wolverine is any more dangerous now than he has been in any of the other five X-Men films he’s appeared in. Another good point to make, I feel, is that of Wolverine’s ‘Berserker Rage’. In the comics, he had a tendency to go into a feral like mindset while fighting in close quarters. It has been advertised as this Berserker Rage being in this film, though it never really comes across as different from any other fight scene Wolverine has had. In fact, X2 probably demonstrates the Berserker Rage more distinctly than this film does.
"He's still -really- shouty."
That’s not to say the fighting and action scenes in this film aren’t good – they’re better than a lot of films I’ve seen, particularly the fight scenes between Wolverine and samurais – but with the need to up the ante from each successive X-film, they are getting more and more comic book like. And I know this is a comic book movie, but going from a relatively normal world into a comic book world with more fantastical set pieces just doesn’t seem to sit quite right with me. Still, the action scenes were pretty good, though it is a film more concerned with character development with a backdrop of violence. It works, but it’s not perfect for a character that is essentially a walking murder machine.
As for the other characters of the film, they are kinda there just to drive Wolverine forward, including Jean Grey appearing in dreams. (This is one of the best things about this film in fact, as it gives some closure and development of the universe post-X3.) While some of the characters are interesting, very few of them have anything meaningful to do. This is very much a Wolverine-focused outing, and that actually makes it work better than if it hadn’t been – think X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The story of the film feels like it was ripped straight from a comic book. Indeed, it is loosely based upon a story Chris Claremont wrote and Frank Miller pencilled, and that received critical acclaim upon its release. The story works in and of itself, but is more just an excuse to have Wolverine fight lots of samurai and ninjas. Which is no bad thing, I admit. It’s also quite predictable in how it plays out, similarly to how you could always tell who it was under the mask in an episode of Scooby-Doo. What I mean is that the characters all have that typical vibe that defines them as either good or bad, and some things seem too convenient until you find out later that it all happened as part of a larger plan.
"Sadly, very little of the source material made it to screen"
As for the ending of the film, it is just that: the ending. As in, the film just sort of ends. Kinda, “right, that’s the story we wanted to tell done, cut to black.” In certain films I think such an ending works well. Not so much here. It leaves you wanting to know what happens next, but not really in a good way. It just leaves you with a feeling that the ending should have been bigger, more grandiose, but instead we got a character ending. Not necessarily a particularly bad thing, but not a perfect end for a film about Wolverine.
(Though there is an after-credits scene, I won’t be going into it here. Check back later for Ben’s thoughts on that. That’s right: the after-credits scene is so good we’re giving it its own article. Seriously, the after-credits scene alone pushed up several of the team’s opinions of this film.)
I think I said it best in my initial thoughts on the film: He’s the best there is at what he does. It’s just a pity his film isn’t.
Till next time, this has been Jubby writing for The Awesome Update.