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    July 28, 2013

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE WOLVERINE

    The Wolverine is the fourth comic book adaptation of the year – following the successful Iron Man 3, mediocre at best Man of Steel and the goofy RED 2. But among these crops of CBMs, The Wolverine has plenty of stuffs to prove and to beat since it rides along a somewhat failed-standalone origin movie back in 2009. To overcome the disappointment, the studio embarks a semi-reboot mode by enlisting the help of James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight and Day, Walk the Line) to helm while Mark Bomback and Scott Frank will write the screenplay. Early look on the story suggests that it will feature prominent references to X-Men: The Last Stand after the death of Jean Grey and the disbanding of X-Men. All sounds like a formula for a fresh start but does it work in the end?



    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Classification: P13
    Release Date: 25 July 2013
    Running Time: 126 minutes
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox
    Director: James Mangold
    Screenplay: Mark Bomback and Scott Frank
    Starring: Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Famke Janssen, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee

    Plot: Hugh Jackman returns as Wolverine in this sequel to the member of the X-Men's first solo outing. Mark Bomback and The Usual Suspects' Christopher McQuarrie penned the script, which takes its inspiration from the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller Marvel miniseries from the 1980s dealing with the character's adventures in Japan as he fights ninjas in the ceremonial garb of the samurai. Knight and Day's James Mangold directs.
    Unfortunately, the answer is no. While it embarks a different path by distancing itself from the disastrous origin movie, this new Logan adventure is equally abysmal with its plot. While it is difficult to rank where this movie stands among the entire whole X-Men universe, one thing for sure is that it improves marginally over the 2009 movie but that is not entirely great news. The refreshing setup in the Land of Rising Sun is intriguing enough as it envisions an epic battle between Wolverine and Silver Samurai in the climax. As a starter, the censorship is a farce at times and I find that occasionally vulgar name-calling Wolverine to be the iconic signature, which is dearly missed.

    Now, for even more bad news. The plot is all too familiar, weak and pointless. The struggle of the titular character over his abilities is portrayed in the similar generic question of whether these are the gift or the curse – probably Hollywood will need new ideas after this. It is not like we have not seen it before because The Wolverine follows the exact same textbook in the chapter about story. The plot is also very predictable from end-to-end, occasionally illogical and unnecessary, while there are also plenty of side stories that are not closed properly. The writers somehow fail to give much satisfying or proper explanations to some of it. For instance, we will never truly comprehend the motivations of the main villain (which I find his excuses as lame) or how it is even possible that adamantium claws can be cut (mind you, this metal is as superior as vibranium, yet it cuts like nobody’s business). The third act is a major hubris in providing a good climatic comic book action, for reasons I find it puzzling enough and this comes to show they still cannot get Wolverine right as a standalone movie package.

    In addition to the flaws on the plot, the movie also lacks in key character development. Probably because it is a movie about Wolverine, but it does not necessary mean that most of the characters are stripped down to thin-wafer identity. Yes, this is still the Wolverine we loved and Hugh Jackman nails the character as he always does. Even if there are some developments on the Japanese characters, mostly are done with hollow rounds of emotion attached to it. Shingen Yashida whose role supposed to be big is nothing more than a douche-dad. Viper has zero development. Yukio becomes the unwanted sidekick while the biggest disappointment of all has to be Kenuichio Harada whose also supposedly big role is gutted down to a poster boy behind the relationship between Wolverine and Mariko. Speaking of which, the romantic relationship between Wolverine and Mariko Yashida is very weird and unnatural.

    The Wolverine is one of the few movies that make me go berserk because they simply destroyed the movie as much as possible and the hype it builds. The only thing I find it exceptionally good is some of the action sequences although they mostly are bloodless and comes way too short to satisfaction. Got to admit, the bullet train scene is engaging, and the same can be said when Yukio battles Shingen in a samurai-swashbuckling scene. Otherwise, they are not inventive enough yet arrive at the right moment when we want one.

    In the end, The Wolverine is a subpar and generic comic book movie that finds itself the burden to outdo its predecessor way to heavy. The faults in the plot are that it is incredibly cliché, pointless and illogical all combined to top with the absolute lack in character and emotional developments.

    MY RATING:
    Story: 2.5
    Casts: 3.0
    Cinematography: 4.0
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 11.3/20.0

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