Thursday, 1 August 2013

Meeting My X-Men Fix

Those of you who know me will know I'm quite a Marvel fan.  I love the stories behind the superheroes and how they affect their behaviours and relationships with each other.  Especially when multiple characters cross-over as a team.  Avengers Assemble (2012) comes straight to mind in this case as does, of course, the X-Men (2000) and its following films.  So when The Wolverine (2013), Hugh Jackman's sixth (he had a cameo in First Class (2011)) appearance as Logan (Wolverine), was announced, it got me excited.

I didn't think I could see it due to the impending arrival of my first child but since it is currently 10 days overdue, I was able to catch it at my local ODEON, hoping to be wowed by CGI, entertained by the light humour Marvel films bring and to get my X-Men fix.

I love to see real-life events in fantasy movies so I quite enjoyed The Wolverine's opening scenes as the Japanese army watched the atomic bomb fall on Nagasaki.  After the first act showing Logan's self-isolation following X-Men: the Last Stand (2006), the whole film is set in Japan which is an interesting twist to the normally Western-based comic-book films.

The Japanese locations mean samurai fights and high speed trains, resulting in one particularly exciting scene, and the extraordinary culture Japan has.  The movie itself alludes to the ignorance of such culture from Western people but it's something that is becoming more fashionable with popularity of anime and films like Kill Bill (2003).  The film looks great with plenty of high speed action and beautiful landscapes over the Japanese land.

Jackman does a good job once again as Wolverine.  Having been most recently popularised by his part in Les Mis (2012) and other diverse films, you can really see the talent this actor has to pull off different characters and emotions; Wolverine is appropriately angered, disturbed and passionate in the right balance.  The film is all about Wolverine and no others really stand out; it really is the Hugh Jackman show.

This maybe gave a flaw to the storyline: by coincidence Wolverine ends up in Japan and all of sudden forges strong bonds with the characters he meets there, almost unexplained.  Some to the point where he would risk his life for them.  From that point of view, the film was a bit too farfetched for my liking.  The other characters were hardly developed beyond a brief life history seemed redundant to the plot of the film.

As I mentioned, I was looking forward to some good old, mutanty X-Men action.  I was disappointed.  Yes, we had Wolverine but save that and a few mentions of others, there was little more mutant action on offer.  SPOILER The post credit scene just about made up for it (how exciting was that?!) but I could have just watched that on YouTube. /SPOILER.

Overall, the film didn't meet my expectations but I still enjoyed it.  There were great action scenes, a metal man with claws and regenerating powers and some pretty big explosions.  A good film, especially for Marvel or X-Men fans, but I won't be rushing back to the cinema to see it again.  7/10.