The Wolverine

Release date: 2013

Director: James Mangold

Based on the classic Frank Miller and Chris Claremont limited series, this newest entry into the cinematic X-men franchise at least improves upon Origins and The Last Stand but also reiterates the lessons we have learned not just from the Christopher Nolan Batman films, and Marvel’s own…

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Hugh Jackman is still likable as the world-weary rogue and his pining for the now dead Jean Grey continues via a series of high concept but over-numerous dream sequences. Logan is sort after by an old acquaintance and is fed through a series of events that leads to him losing his powers and thus the mystery begins.

Doesn’t sound much like the comic does it? But what is here is relatively engaging and a huge improvement on the messy and wafer-thin entertainment of Wolverine Origins, and a thousand times more involving than the depressing franchise-killer that was the Last Stand.

I just can’t help but feel that not only has the original story been more or less ignored, but is also a far, far stronger. Shingen, Yukio, and Mariko are all present but their parts in the story are rearranged. I could not help but feel utter disappointment when Shingen was ejected from the narrative. I understand that when adapting material writers want to apply their own ideas but when what is created does not improve upon or tribute the source in any way (Transformers anyone?) why bother in the first place?

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I’m not about to shout the movie down on Youtube or Facebook. In the end, I can still happily return to the original graphic novel whenever I wish. But I just cannot shake the feeling that this has been a missed opportunity. Bane still broke Batman’s back in the Dark Knight Rises. I cannot understand how the writers thought that Wolverine losing his powers was more interesting than being completely dishonored in the comics. Perhaps they believe it is more palpable for mainstream audiences?

Still, it is a fine movie with a good character arc and fine performances all round with plenty of decent set-pieces, and some are original too. I can imagine those who have not read the original story enjoying this film a lot more than those who have.

(Written in 2014)

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