- Movie Rating -

The Wolverine (2013)

| July 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

The key problem with “The Wolverine”, the latest comic book adaptation from Marvel Studios, is that it tries to delve into the psychology and haunted life of a character that is not all that interesting to begin with.  Unlike his fellow X-Men, like Storm or Cyclops or Rogue, Wolverine is kind of blah as a superhero.  He has a body made of a substance that regenerates itself when he gets hurt and his knuckles extend into long silver claws.  His personality is made up of grouchy indifference and occasional fits of rage to which those claws come in handy.  Outside of that, there really isn’t much there.

This is not the fault of Hugh Jackman who, in this movie, occupies the role for the sixth time.  He’s a good actor and he does infuse this character with a bit of sympathy when he’s not snarling or bearing his claws.  But so far in this series, he hasn’t been given much to work with.  Unlike the previous entry in the series “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” director James Mangold slows down the action to build a story around him and it only further proves that this character, in his own stand-alone story, just doesn’t work.

Taking place sometime after “X-Men: The Last Stand,” we catch up with Wolverine (who also goes by the name Logan) who has retreated into a Grizzly Adams-type refuge in the Canadian wilderness.  After a pointless encounter involving a grizzly bear, Logan is recruited to fly to Japan to bid sayonara to Mariko, a man he saved back during World War II.  The man is lying on his deathbed, but WHAT a deathbed!  It’s a neat device that resembles one of those strange mesh 3D pin art things that you buy for your desk.   The pins raise and lower the patient almost independently, which is really a sight to see.  It’s probably the most effective visual in the film.

Anyway, the old man was saved by Wolverine back in WWII and is now the head of a multi-billion dollar global enterprise.  The fact that he knew Logan back during the war apparently means that Wolverine’s body has rendered him immortal, but the movie never lets us know exactly how old he is, nor do we get any insights into the journey through history that he has experienced.  He was present in Japan when the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and saved the man who has now called him to his bedside, but the historical journey is left for us to imagine.

The plot gets underway when Wolverine is slipped a drug that slowly but surely causes his body to revert back to a mortal state.  That’s interesting enough, but we also have to suffer through a long, labored, boring plot about who will inherit the old man’s fortune and why the old man was so interested in Wolverine’s special physiology.  The old man’s daughter is kidnapped and there’s some nonsense about honor and secret ninja armies.

The dialogue is straight-forward, only existing to push the plot along.  The action scene are dull save for one amusing scene atop a bullet train.  Other than that, this is a fairly routine movie wrapped around a character that it is difficult to care about.  There are some interesting supporting players such as a Japanese psychic who tags along with Wolverine.  She has an odd, angular face and a shock of barn-red hair, making her look like something out of anime.  Then there’s a blonde dragon-lady who calls herself The Viper.  Neither of these characters have much definition except in their connection with the hero.  They, much like the movie, are just so . . . so what.

Since this is a Marvel Studios production, there must be a preview for the next movie during the credits, and this one provides a doozy.  A couple of familiar characters show up, making you wish they’d been around to liven things up for the last two hours.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.