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Non-Review Review: The Wolverine

The Wolverine is pretty far from a perfect film. In the era following The Dark Knight, we’ve come to expect more ambition from our superhero blockbusters; tighter plots; well-drawn character arcs and motivations for more than just our heroes. In a summer where some have fallen just short of working within this new paradigm (Man of Steel) and others have succeeded (Iron Man 3), The Wolverine feels like a conscious throwback. It’s a nineties action movie masquerading as a superhero blockbuster. Had it been released in 2007, it would have been well-received.

And yet, there’s something quite fascinating and compelling about The Wolverine, despite the noticeable problems with the script’s third act. Director James Mangold struggles to keep things under control for as long as possible, Hugh Jackman still has a wonderful charm in the eponymous role, and The Wolverine has a fascinating thematic through-line and an approach to inter-movie continuity which is intriguing and strangely satisfying.

The Wolverine falls short of greatness, but it’s still a fun and enjoyable ride.

"You lookin' at me, bub?"

“You lookin’ at me, bub?”

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Watch! New Wolverine Trailer!

I’m actually slightly looking forward to The Wolverine. Yes, I’m aware that X-Men Origins: Wolverine was… less than good. On the other hand, I have a soft spot for James Mangold, and I like the idea of giving the character a (relatively) fresh start free from all the continuity and characters of the previous X-Men films. I’m not expecting an instant classic, just a nice popcorn film.

Enjoy!

 

Watch! The Wolverine Trailer!

I’ve been a bit less than impressed with the publicity work for The Wolverine. A trailer for a trailer? Exclusive teaser footage released via two avenues? It just seems a little counter-productive and more frustrating than intriguing. Following the reaction to both X-Men III and X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, you’d think that the trick would be to offer as much proof that things had turned around as possible, and as quickly as possible. Suspense works if we’re already sold. It doesn’t work if we’re more cautious than curious.

And I say that with a hint of optimism for The Wolverine. I actually quite like James Mangold. I even sort of enjoyed Knight and Day, probably much more than I should have. Hugh Jackman is charming enough you can forgive him anything. And the movie is based on the character’s defining solo story. Plus, you know, the trailer looks to borrow that pulpy charm of inserting Wolverine into popular history (in this case, World War II), which as much Wolverine’s mutant superpower as healing or claws. So I’m still on board.

Anyway, check out the trailer below and let me know what you think.

Chris Claremont & Frank Miller’s Wolverine (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

It’s almost hard to believe that Wolverine only earned his first solo miniseries in 1982. The character had first appeared as a foe in The Incredible Hulk in 1974, and was coopted in the X-Men with Len Wein’s Giant-Sized X-Men #1 a year later. During Chris Claremont’s celebrated Uncanny X-Men run, Wolverine emerged a hugely popular character. In fact, I think you could make the argument that Wolverine and Storm were the central protagonists of Claremont’s epic X-Men run. Still, given how ubiquitous the character has become in recent years, it’s impressive that it took so long for him to get a solo adventure. The four-part Wolverine miniseries, written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Frank Miller, is generally regarded as one of the best miniseries that Marvel ever produced, and I think that it provided a lot of the momentum and characterisation that would sustain the character over three more decades of solo appearances.

Get some…

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Requiem for The Wolverine: Why Darren Aaronofsky was the Perfect Choice to Direct The Wolverine…

I was actually really anticipating what Darren Aronofsky could bring to The Wolverine, the sequel to the rather lackluster X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So I was actually genuinely disappointed when it was announced – rumoured to be for the inevitable creative reasons – that Aronofsky would not be directing the film after all. While it’s great that this affords Aronofsky complete creative freedom on the next film he works on, and while I certainly don’t want a film that has been subject to Fox’s executive meddling, I can’t help but regret what might have been.

Blades of glory?

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Now That’s First Class: X-Men – First Class & Superhero Nostalgia

I have to admit that X-Men: First Class is a movie that I find myself in a wild state of flux over. At times, I’m delighted by the sensational casting, the fantastic director and the wonderful artistic design that we’re seeing. However, I am equally curious as to what the point of a prequel is, or why Bryan Singer jumped ship so quickly. At times, it’s one of my most anticipated movies of the coming year, while at others it’s just another film awaiting release. Somewhat lost amid the announcement that Bane and Catwoman would be the villains of The Dark Knight Rises, Fox released a slew of information about their newest X-Men film last week. looking at eth photos, I can’t help wondering whether the superhero movie genre is on the cusp of the nostalgia-fest which has swept their comic book counterparts in recent years.

He always had a magnetic personality...

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Aaronofsky to Wrestle “The Wolverine”: Are Independent Directors the Best Choices for Superhero Cinema?

I’m going to be honest, I like it when relatively obscure film directors are handed the reigns to huge blockbuster properties. It seems that these “cult” film makers tend to bring something fresh from outside the studio system to their work. I might sound more than a bit pretentious, but it reminds me of the way that many of the blockbuster directors of the seventies – including Lucas and Spielberg – originated from outside the studio system before revolutionising it from inside. As a concept, would I rather watch Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins? No choice there. Any film with the name “Jerry Bruckheimer” attached or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man? Again, no choice. So, despite the fact that Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a critical failure and an infuriatingly (but, sadly, not unpredictably) disappointing film, am I alone in getting a little excited about Darren Aaronofsky’s The Wolverine.

Against all odds, I might be feeling pretty Jack(man)ed about this...

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