The Wolverine (2013): Step Six in the Hugh Jackman Evolution

Wolverine BlueHello everyone! I, Lauren – your fearless Wolverine enthusiast, am back with my thoughts and concerned rantings relating to yet another X-Men movie. (I’m sorry but I could not justify using the word “film” in that last sentence). In spite of the bad reputation this movie generated, I (unsurprisingly) was quite excited to see it for reasons mainly relating to Hugh Jackman’s ridiculously defined musculature. (Please see my prior post on X-Men Origins: Wolverine for details of my love for Logan). Unfortunately, this movie was even worse than I was expecting, and I think the best way to explain my confused disappointment involves listing the top three positive and top three negative aspects of this movie. (And to stop using parentheses like they grow on trees). (Although I make no promises).

I’m going to start with the negatives because they far outweigh the positives and also are more fun.

Negatives:

1. The movie’s central theme of Wolverine’s immortality, and by extension our own mortality, is dealt with very poorly. This is unfortunate because it is an extremely interesting topic that is explored in great detail in the comics and has a lot of potential. Sadly the script is packed with too many action sequences that add nothing (see Negative #3) and detract from the only interesting thing going on in this movie (see Postive #2). One of the great things about the X-Men universe is exploring the details and nuances in the many different mutations. Wolverine’s healing powers provoke a multitude of interesting questions. Can he survive in any climate? Does he need sleep? Does he even need food? Once, I had a 20 minute debate about whether or not Logan can get drunk or if his hyped-up metabolism only allows for a momentary buzz. Eventually, the audience poses this simple question with complex implications: can he die? Logan has reached a point where he is tired of living, everyone he knows and loves is dead. His life is full of pain with death an unrealistic possibility. The opening scenes, though potentially confusing (Where is he? When is he? What is on his face? What is happening with that poor bear?), do a decent job of setting up this question, but the rest of the movie does a terrible job at exploring this further.

Wolverine Healing

2. The second item on this list has to be the weird, forced romantic relationship between the granddaughter and Logan. The word “romantic” may be wrong here, but I’m not sure how else to describe it. They clearly were supposed to have some sort of emotional connection, but those scenes in which they developed said relationship must have been cut to allow for more sword fights. The deeper problem is that all of the relationships in this movie were shallow and fake. This becomes very apparent when the red-haired Japanese mutant starts predicting Logan’s death, and she becomes tearful and serious. Logan interrupts her and states very plainly, “I don’t have time for this shit.” The writers had a moment of brilliant insight into Logan’s mind and I appreciated this very much. It’s like Wolverine knows the plot/situation he is in is completely ridiculous but is willing to claw his way out. The only reason I haven’t chucked the remote across the room at this point is because while putting a stop to all the madness he likely will not be wearing a shirt (or at least sleeves).

Wolverine Train

3. There are many pointless action sequences in this movie, but none are more annoying, unnecessary, and ridiculous than the one that takes places on top of the train. Is there an unspoken law now that requires all action movies to have a train sequence? For me, after a thousand train fight scenes (I’m looking at you James Bond franchise) this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We get it! Wolverine is on top of a train. The complete disregard for the laws of physics aside, Wolverine doesn’t need a train to make his action sequences interesting. I much preferred the scene where Wolverine stabs someone through a metal door because it was clever and fun and incorporated the uniqueness of his adamantium covered claws. (Sidenote – In a battle between Samuri swords and Wolverine’s claws, Wolverine’s claws should win every time. I’m going to assume that all of the Samuri swords in this movie were coated in adamantium so I don’t lose my mind, but I sincerely wish they had mentioned this in the film.)

This is a more accurate version of how fights on trains would play out:

Positives:

1. We see a shirtless Hugh Jackman in the first 5 minutes of the movie. Look, if you go to see a non-cartoon Wolverine feature, expect to see a shirtless Hugh Jackman. It would be a travesty not to admire the hard work and dedication the man has put into… let’s call it character development.

Ok, Maybe you can expect a shiftless/naked Wolverine in the comics as well.

Ok, Maybe you can expect a shirtless/naked Wolverine in the comics as well.

Fun Hugh Facts:

– Hugh Jackman stated that for this movie he finally had the time to get into the physical shape he always imagined for Wolverine. This is even more impressive after seeing him lose so much weight for his role in Les Miserables as Jean Valjean which was filmed just months before The Wolverine.

– Prior to his shirtless scenes he abstained from water for 36 hours to make his muscles and veins borderline scarily exaggerated.

Wolverine Before and After

2. The Jean Grey cameo was perfect and was the only meaningful relationship in the entire movie – a man and the ghost of his past. Essentially, I watched the rest of the movie so I could see these few scenes. Following the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, it was nice to see Logan and Jean in a beautiful hypothetical of what could have been. If you are a Logan/Jean fan, you should watch this movie for these scenes, although don’t say I didn’t warn you about the rest.

3. The movie ends with a hopeful yet confusing transition to X-Men: Days of Future Past, which only made sense to me because I accidentally watched these movies in reverse order. Also, the movie ends.

Rating: 4/10

Bottom Line: If the movie ended with you sitting back in your seat, empty Twizzlers bag in hand, eyes narrowed and unfocused, lips pursed in a confused manner, thinking to yourself “What just happened, and why on earth did I waste the last two hours of my life with such insanity?” then know that I understand your pain. Also I congratulate you on choosing the perfect movie snack.

Fun Fact: If you are in need of a good laugh, then here you go. In 2013, Hugh Jackman walked around ComicCon in his full Wolverine costume and no one knew it was him. One person even accused him of being way too tall. I’m still laughing.

Thanks for reading!

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