Directed by James Mangold. Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi. 20th Century Fox.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Teens & Up*|
Content advisory: Much action violence, deadly and otherwise; ritual suicides; some suggestive references; a demure, nonmarital morning-after scene; a brief scene involving lingerie-clad women; limited profanity, an obscenity and some crude language and cursing.
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
Summer action spectacles, including superhero movies, have been ratcheting up the stakes so high that apocalypticism has become routine. These days, it’s a rarity to find a popcorn action spectacle or superhero film in which the fate of the planet, the country or at least one metropolis is not at stake, with brawling heroes and villains leveling buildings and ravaging cities, while perhaps some sort of doomsday weapon threatens even more catastrophic destruction.
The Wolverine, with Hugh Jackman reprising his best-known role as Marvel Comics’ popular mutant antihero, is that rarity. It’s true that Wolverine, or Logan as he’s also called, isn’t in the same power league as Superman or even Iron Man. Then again, neither is Batman, and look at his films. Even The Lone Ranger raised the action to genocidal levels, blew up bridges and spectacularly destroyed three trains (or was it only two?).
Comparatively speaking, The Wolverine could be called a human-scaled, almost intimate film. Outside a World War II prologue set near Nagasaki, no cities are threatened. When, in the film’s best set piece, the hero battles villains atop a 300-mph bullet train, few if any of the train’s passengers even notice.
The root inspiration for the film is an influential 1982 comic-book miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which, along with Miller’s contemporaneous work on Daredevil, revolutionized comics by blending superhero action with both Eastern and Western cinematic motifs: on the one hand, martial arts, ninjas and the like; on the other, film noir conventions, including hard-boiled first-person narration.
Voice-over narration might have been a nice touch in The Wolverine, but director James Mangold (who previously directed Jackman in the timey-wimey romcom Kate and Leopold) and the screenwriters stick with the Asian influences.