The Wolverine: Former X-Men hero gets an X

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comJuly 25, 2013 

I'm prepared for the personal attacks and critical onslaught, and I stand by this statement. Of all of the characters created by Marvel Comics, the X-Men group is the least interesting. The only one of the group that has managed to be done is Wolverine, who now has two movies.

This one and X-Men Origins: Wolverine are really boring.

The Wolverine picks up Logan's story after he killed Dr. Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand. Haunted by her death, Logan is a recluse living in a cave in Alaska. A young Japanese woman fetches him and takes him to Japan, where a man he saved during World War II wants to thank him.

He's now one of the world's wealthiest industrialists, is dying and is obsessed with eternal life. Logan just happens to have eternal life and loathes it. The man wants eternal life and says he has a way to transfer Logan's eternal life to him.

Faced with the reality of actually dying, Logan says no and the man dies.

His granddaughter inherits the company. Powerful enemies go after her, and Logan becomes her protector. For some reason, his body is now taking longer to heal and in some cases, does not heal after a wound. Vulnerability is new to Logan, and it gets in the way of his ability to protect the young woman.

The film focuses on why he's suddenly vulnerable, why the young woman is a target, Logan's struggle with the killing of Dr. Jean Grey (who he regularly communicates with in dreams) and the quest for eternal life.

The Wolverine suffers from two flaws that led me to make my original statement. First, it has zero sense of humor. Superheroes and their crises are better when they're funny. The Wolverine is not funny or even fun. Hugh Jackman bulks up for the role and has little to do other than trash bad guys and silently stomp around.

All Jackman's Wolverine gets to do is be miserable. I suspect much of his acting misery is fueled from getting sucked into doing this miserable movie.

Second. The plot is dreadful. Three screenwriters -- including the most excellent Scott Frank of Get Shorty and Minority Report fame -- throw this twist and that at the screen, but very little sticks.

Director James Mangold's management of the action sequences -- except for a brilliant piece of work on one of Japan's super trains -- is so-so. There are too many, too often and seem like they're designed to keep you awake because nothing much happens in the nonaction sequences.

You have to be a serious fan of Wolverine and the X-Men series to come close to even liking this one. It does, however, set up the next X-Men flick in an interesting outtake at the end.

Director: James Mangold

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Kohdchenkova

Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars

Rated PG-13 for violence, mature themes and some language. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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