Butler County Times Gazette
  • Costello: Jackman shines, "The Wolverine" hits the mark

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  • Minor spoilers ahead
    If ever there were a character who could make operating on his own heart (in a manner of speaking) a sensible scene, Wolverine would be the one to pull it off.
    "The Wolverine," a stand-alone X-Men movie starring Hugh Jackman, finds Logan in a predicament: he has lost his regeneration powers and, consequently, his immortality. He doesn't know until later that Viper, the movie's main mutant villain, has used her powers to put a stop to Wolverine's powers (a la Superman and kryptonite).
    Seeing Wolverine in this scenario he hasn't dealt with before was the crux of Jackman's performance. Early on, Wolverine gets shot, but instead of wincing, healing and moving on, he is stunned and wounded. The camerawork occasionally shows a first-person view of what he's seeing at these moments. It's akin to what gamers would see when playing a first-person shooter and getting shot: everything gets gray, blurry and overwhelming, and it becomes hard to tell what's going on. Although superhero movies don't always require the greatest performances, Jackman definitely makes his pain and confusion felt. Wouldn't expect any less from him.
    The progression of "The Wolverine" was different than what one might expect. Sure, Wolverine is in hiding and has to decide if he wants to let his animal side take over or not. He also still has attachments to Jean Gray, who lingers with Logan in his dreams. But later, Logan has an opportunity to share those kinds of feelings again with another woman—a nice, emotional, added layer to the character.
    But the juice of the story involves Yashida, his family and his influence with the Yakuza. Wolverine has to deal with ninjas and samurais, not to mention Viper, all while adjusting to a new culture in Japan. Wolverine saved Yashida from a bomb explosion in his younger days, and Yashida later contacts him to try and return the favor. He believes that Logan's immortality is more of a curse that needs to be cleansed (another recurring theme with the mutants) than a power, which leaves Wolverine with an interesting decision.
    The aforementioned fight scenes with ninjas and such were well choreographed for the fast-paced action scenes they were. At one point in a snow scene, Wolverine finds himself getting shot down with arrows that have ropes attached to them in one of the movie's best shots. The final fights at the end lead to an interesting twist, though the mutant villain doesn't come across well here. Unfortunate, because there was potential for more cool moves and mutant powers to bedazzle.
    The flat ending aside, "The Wolverine" was a solid entry for X-Men's most popular character. Also, the stinger during the credits definitely is exciting, bringing back (perhaps not surprisingly) some notable characters from the X-Men series who supposedly were gone as the next adventure begins lining up to be a good one.
    Page 2 of 2 - Obligatory 3D note: I watched "The Wolverine" in 2D, but there definitely were some obvious spots that made use of 3D gimmicks. Judging from past movies, the 3D definitely doesn't seem like it would add anything to the experience.

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