Hugh Jackman gets his teenage girl on once more, whipping his claws out in the latest X-Men spin-off THE WOLVERINE.
Despite the undeniable embarrassment that was X-MEN ORIGINS:WOLVERINE, Logan has been given a second shot at solo stardom.
Jackman managed to stack back on the 12 kilograms of pure muscle he dropped for his emaciated portrayal of Jean Valjean in 2012’s LES MISERABLES, and is looking as buff as ever.
Despite being only five years off 50, he sure looks the part (I notice they’ve shaved down those sideburns quite significantly!), but how does the film itself hold up?
THE WOLVERINE is set after 2006’s X-MEN: THE LAST STAND. Via an impressive flashback we see Logan save a Japanese soldier during the Nagasaki detonation in World War II. Propelled forward to modern day, the dying ex-soldier summons Logan to Japan to offer (and ultimately force upon him) the gift of a mortal life.
It’s an interesting premise: Logan is resentful of his immortality, yet here he is faced with the prospect of losing it. Suddenly he’s conflicted: Maybe being immune to death is not such a bad thing after all…
It presents a more humanised version of the Wolverine – one I found pretty darn cool. He still kicks arse, but there’s the very real possibility that he might just get his kicked even harder.
Watching Logan stumble and fall for half the movie then rise again, successfully reinstates that wow factor we all felt 13 years ago watching Wolverine defy death for the first time, it prevents us feeling it’s just more of the ‘same old’.
In reality, this latest X-Men flick is about as unX-men as you can get. The first two acts play out like a ‘normal film’, it just happens to have a few mutants rattling about. On one hand, this premise is interesting offering a welcome refreshing take on the perhaps overdone superhero genre.
On the other hand, it means the full-blown sci-fi/fantasy approach to the third act is a little jarring (*cough Viper cough*).
The special effects in this flick knock spots of the first solo Wolverine film, and the fight choreography benefits from a samurai injection. It’s a little brutal, but maybe I’m showing my age….the 8-year-old sat in my screening didn’t seem too fazed…
The Japanese landscape – particularly the neon jungle of Tokyo – is not utilised to it’s fullest which is definitely a missed opportunity, but all in all it’s a pretty satisfying trip to the cinema.
Complete with the Wolverine’s usual cheesy one-liners, super serious facial expressions and bad-ass (yet ultimately ‘big softie’) attitude, THE WOLVERINE is an enjoyable return to a well-loved character. It’s flawed, but fun.
(It’s also got me very excited about the next X-Men flick…. Make sure you stay for the teaser scene mid-way through the end credits!)
I rate it 6 stars.