Critics' review: The Wolverine scratches, doesn't bite

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    Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the aggressive and restless Logan/Wolverine in the film.

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    The Wolverine is about how the X-Man superhero becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons when he is summoned ...

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    Like all the earlier franchises and take-offs, this one too delves in Wolverine's bleak past.

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    X-Men star Famke Janssen too, will reprise her role as Jean Grey and the Phoenix in The Wolverine.

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    The Wolverine also stars Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper or Madame Hydra.

James Mangold's The Wolverine might be overkill. No, literally.

The indestructible Marvel comics freak superhero returns in this film based in Japan. (Is that a theme running this year? Read: Pacific Rim)

The film is a question of Wolverine's life and death. Again, literally.

Okay, enough with the death jokes. Hugh Jackman plays the protagonist (for the sixth time) who is battling with the internal pain of immortality. And the critics have given the film mixed reviews.

Anthony Quinn writes in The Independent, "Doubtful after X-Men Origins: Wolverine whether we needed  a further instalment of Hugh Jackman's soloing as Marvel's hairiest hero, but we're getting one anyway."

Err, there's a seventh installment in the offing as well Mr Quinn.

"Director James Mangold has his own problems with succession: how to stage one egregiously implausible set-piece and then instantly top it. The thing finally crashes into absurdity during  a scene in which Wolverine is performing cardiac surgery on himself just as a man dressed in full samurai fig bursts through a wall intending to kill him," Quinn notes.

That sounds like less action, more slapstic comedy.

Peter Bradshaw writes in The Guardian, "Jackman is a powerful, virile presence, and this movie - and maybe the whole X-Men franchise - would be nothing without him. But the proceedings look massively contrived, and when lonely Logan has to have tenderly conjugal fantasy-conversations with the ethereally white-clad Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) the effect is strained, especially as he gets some love interest with a beautiful young heiress, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), to whom he growls tough-guy stuff such as: "You can't pretend shit isn't happening when it is, princess.""

That doesn't sound very promising now, does it?

Brian Viner also comments on The Wolverine's not-so-eloquent dialogue delivery in Daily Mail UK.
 
"As for Jackman, he looks more than ever like mid-period Clint Eastwood, and is only slightly more talkative. This is a relief, since dialogue never exactly sparkles in the X-Men films, and it's not about to start here. The sophistication lies in the fight and chase sequences, not the script. 'Go f*** yourself, pretty boy', is about the closest Logan comes to a witty riposte," writes Viner.

Splendid!

As Kenneth Turan writes in LA Times, "Unfortunately, not even Jackman can completely rescue his character's latest outing. As directed by the usually reliable James Mangold, The Wolverine is an erratic affair, more lumbering than compelling, an ambitious film with its share of effective moments that stubbornly refuses to catch fire."

So what's so good about The Wolverine? Apparently the end credits!

You "will not be disappointed, least of all by the closing-credits teaser. For the love of all that is mutant, you'll want to stay for a glimpse of what promises to be not only a deeply satisfying resurrection of the Wolverine, but also certain other beloved characters, in next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past," writes Michael O'Sullivan in The Washington Post.

But Turan isn't the only one to point out the end credits!

A.O.Scott writes in The NY Times, "An end-credits teaser - stay in your seat! - promises a planet-threatening spectacle to come, probably next summer. No wonder the Wolverine looks tired."

Bizarre.

 

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