Movie Review: THE WOLVERINE (2013)
Us fan boys are always arguing about which comic book storylines will make the best movies. The problem though, is that most stories from comics have years of stories before it to put that one story into any sort of context, and it’s impossible to include any of them in the limited medium that is a feature film. Which is the main reason why Origin stories are almost a rule when it comes to debut superhero movies. However, one movie proves that a successful and standalone superhero story can be told without an origin, while still keeping it part of a larger connected cinematic Universe. Here is my Movie Review of THE WOLVERINE…
Blank Page Rating: 4 out of 5 Katanas
After 3 X-MEN Movies, 1 disastrous attempt at an Origin Story and 1 small cameo in an X-MEN Reboot, THE WOLVERINE is the 5th time that character of Wolverine appears on screen. Despite all that baggage though, none of those films are required viewing in order to understand and effectively enjoy the story in this movie. We see a Wolverine who has put himself in exile after a traumatic incident in his past, but is brought back from his isolation by an old friend seeking his help on his deathbed. Returning to civilization, Wolverine gets caught up in a series of events that force him to face something he never has before, the possibility of death, and having to accept what he is.
THE WOLVERINE works hard at being a serous comic book movie, while still maintaining elements of the genre that make it otherworldly. The more, fantastical aspects of the story are still treated with respect and not used for over indulgence. The presence of other comic book characters with powers are kept to a minimum and not done for shock value, but instead to serve the story. The entire film has a tone of dramatic gravitas that really sets it apart from other comic book movies, as well as any other movie featuring the same character thus far. The plot is contained to this film only, while still making references and connecting it to Fox’s Cinematic Universe as a whole. Despite barely touching upon the character’s history, the who/what/when/why is relevant enough to drive the story forward, without getting bogged down by heavy handed exposition or even flashbacks of the previous films. Director James Mangold is smart to keep the scenes of this film boxed in on its own, thereby containing the plot and characters to this movie. This is important in a time when we are seeing sequels, prequels and spin-offs of films all existing in a larger Fictional Universe of their own, which are out of context without knowledge of the previous franchise, as mentioned in my X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Review found here.
Writers Mark Bomback & Scott Frank finally give us the tortured hero that Wolverine is, and shows us how he must reluctantly save the day at high cost to his own well being. It’s really the best kind of comic book movie that stands alone, while still being part of a bigger continuity, while adapting the source material to suit the story being told. THE WOLVERINE successfully reboots the portrayal of one character in a messy film continuity of movies, and tells a riveting story that borderlines a superhero movie, but also works more as a riveting drama.
Hugh Jackman returns as Wolverine for the 5th time, but this time having to display a lot more range of emotional depth as an actor than any of the previous films allowed him to do so, at least in any way that made sense. THE WOLVERINE is all about the reluctant hero that is Logan, coming to terms with his ruthless nature, and realizing that he’s the best at what he does, and what he does… isn’t very nice.