Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Case for Hungry Like a Wolf 2

The Wolverine is actually the second stab at a film starring one of Marvel Comics’ favourite X-Men.  The first one fell over a bit from being a bit too long and boring.  The second one, avoiding the “2” label, tried to distance itself from that critical failure and the previews promised something a bit more action oriented and stylish.

The Wolverine failed. 

Changing the scene to Japan with one of the Wolverine’s longer story arcs (I know a little bit about it from the comics) was one way of bringing in a serious tone and a relatively good excuse for martial arts madness.  However, the execution of the idea is frankly quite poor, with the storyline itself confusing and the editing abysmal (keep a track how many times does Mariko place Wolverine’s chopsticks on the table; and how many pairs of gloves is Viper taking off?).

The new characters too are all terrible.  Mariko, Logan’s love interest, is a bad tempered, sour cow, and there is no chemistry between the actors playing them (a totally ripped Hugh Jackman and the stunningly beautiful Tao Okamato) whatsoever.  The villainous Viper struts around all sultry but is just irritating.  The good looking martial arts expert who in theory is the love of Mariko’s life seems to be completely malleable with his allegiances and easily dumped when some tall and frequently shirtless Gaijin comes along. 

The story concerns Logan, the Wolverine, returning to Japan where a man he saved during the atom bombing of Nagasaki is dying but offers to take away Logan’s immortality, to be transferred to another.  But there is a disgruntled son and a chosen granddaughter to deal with, and the Yakuza and ambitious politicians in there to boot.  He's also dealing with the death of Jean Grey, so Famke Janssen shows up more frequently than she seemed to in X-Men: Last Stand, though after the initial surprise, her appearances just bored me.

When the action comes, it is fun, though considering Wolverine rips through people with his claws, it is all remarkably bloodless.  There are also lots of slow motion scenes as Wolverine takes damage, emphasising his now mortal state but also causing the scenes to drag a lot more than they should have.  One of the final show downs in a small Japanese town is basically all slow and no action, which is a bitter disappointment – and of course, basically pointless in the end, as Wolverine just gets taken to where he wanted to go in the first place. 

And so, yes, back to the plot and the stupidity thereof.  It doesn’t really make a lot of sense in the end, despite the fact it is completely predictable how things end up.  Mariko’s Dad decides to fight Wolverine for no real reason after his entire household is slaughtered by someone else completely, and Yukio shows up several hours after Wolverine at a pivotal scene as perhaps she had a pit stop somewhere along the way.

It all seems a bit lazy and haphazard and, like Man of Steel, humourless (though Man of Steel was not lazy nor haphazard).  About the only excitement came from the small “trailer” for the next X-Men movie that came a little while into the credits.  

Verdict: Hugh Jackman owes a lot to the character of Wolverine and he brings a lot to the table, but unfortunately, the script of The Wolverine on that table is pretty threadbare, missing a few pages (if not chapters) and there are quite a few typos to boot.  It has a pretty cover, but really is far too long as well. 6 ounces of adamantium out of 10.

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