Just been watching…(10)

The Wolverine (2013)

I have often been critical of comic book cinema franchises, and super-hero films. As I have confessed, I rarely even bother to watch them, convinced that they are best suited to the colourful pages of the comics where they originated. I know that I am getting on a bit, and my tolerance levels are low, so I thought it best to at least watch another one, before continuing to slag them off. I noticed that one was on TV tonight, presented by Film 4, so I decided to give it a chance. Even though the Euro football has concluded, there was little else on, to be frank.

I have had little time for Hugh Jackman, the Australian actor, and star of this film. Although I have enjoyed some films he has been in, like ‘The Prestige’, and ‘Swordfish’, these have been countered by dull performances in films such as ‘Australia’, ‘Kate and Leopold’, and many more. He has the hunky credentials for a manly role like ‘The Wolverine’, but not much else, as far as I could tell.

So I settled down to watch, and was immediately overwhelmed by the numbing predictability. He is an apparently indestructible, long-lived mutant, with sharp knives that appear from between his fingers when he needs to fight, or is angry. In a plot best forgotten, he has to save the Japanese granddaughter of someone he had met during WW2. This enables the film to be set in modern-day Japan, and to include all the cinematic stereotypes associated with that country.
Lets examine if they are all present.

Beautiful Japanese girl, also a love interest. Check
Friend of same girl, also beautiful. Check.
Angry Yakuza gangsters who try to kill the girl. Check.
Samurai swords and martial arts. Check.
Bullet train scenes. Check.
Running through crowded shopping areas, and Pachinko parlours. Check.
Japanese businessmen being entertained by attractive prostitutes. Check.
Jumping up in the air, and across large gaps between buildings. Check.
Mysterious Ninjas with archery skills and sneaking up to strangle people. Check.
Beautiful young women who are also experts in martial arts and sword-fighting. Check.
Lying Japanese man thrown out of a window. Check.

And many more…

The Wolverine is unstoppable. He can survive bullet wounds, swords through the heart, and any number of beatings. His wounds heal as if by magic, and he has twice the strength of all his adversaries. Alright, I accept it is a fantasy, but come on…I was bored after thirty minutes, and would have switched off, if I hadn’t already decided to review the film on this blog. It is just lazy, a by the numbers, seen-it-all-before adventure film, dressed up in the heritage of a Marvel comic. And he doesn’t even look much like the comic character, when all’s said and done.

I dread to think how much a big-budget blockbuster like this cost to make. Hang on, I will look it up.
$120,000,000. That’s a lot of moolah. They could have made a better film for that money, or three better films. Maybe even four. Better still, they could have financed some independent film-makers to come up with something entertaining and original for a change. But it isn’t really about films anymore, we know that. It is about selling Wolverine toys to kids, and Wolverine figures to collector-nerds. Wolverine computer games, lunch boxes, backpacks and baseball caps. T-shirts, hoodies, DVD spin-offs, and so much more. This is merchandising by cinema, 21st century style.

And it is complete crap, by the way.

See for yourself, here’s a trailer.

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29 thoughts on “Just been watching…(10)

  1. If I was going to try and sell you comic book films I’d go with The Dark Knight but alas I liked Wolverine. I think it could be better but there’s a lot there for me. Enjoyed your review though mate and good on you for giving it a chance.

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    1. Much to my regret, Lloyd, I generally do give most films a chance. Even though the weight of the inevitable can be felt almost from the opening titles. I wouldn’t be bothered with the Batman franchise, to be honest, but I did actually enjoy the first Spider Man film!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy superhero films, but have fallen way behind in DVD purchases. I have not seen this particular one. Unlike the vast majority of people out there, I actually have fun watching the two “Fantastic 4” films with Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, and I also very much like “Watchmen.” Of course, I still prefer to watch an old favorite like “Basic Instinct,” “Aliens,” “Midnight Express,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Flight of the Phoenix,” “The Birds,” or “The Seven Year Itch.”

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    1. I will give you ‘Watchmen’ quite happily, David. It’s a very entertaining film. I think that you are in fact in a majority by liking the other super-hero films you mention. For myself, I would gladly watch the rest of the films listed time and again, rather than ever have to sit though more ‘Wolverine’!
      (Well, maybe not ‘The Birds’…)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete
    Now that you have seen the very worst of the genre, Wolverine is truly dreadful in every way, try to see The Watchmen. A Forrest Gump-esque blend of heroes, superheroes, and American history from 1940 to the present.
    Some of the usual superpower stuff and fantasy is present, but characters are more roundly written and for the most part dovetail with history as we know it… although occasionally in a way that might bring the odd wry smile. It is a bit long though. K

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    1. I have seen Watchmen at least three times, Keith. I love it, because it has all the feel of the period, and is also filmed using great lighting, and with atmospheric sets. Not only that, the characters resemble the ones in the comic, and it has the delicious Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre II to look at!
      Cheers mate, Pete.

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  4. Pete, as others have said in the other comments, you’ve hit it square on the head with your review of this film and I too wish they’d just stop making these types of movies and go back to making good films with merit… Bravo!

    Take care, Laura ~

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          1. Pete, oh my goodness you’re so right as I am so blankety blank tired of all of the remakes.. A good movie can stand beyond time on its own… oh my I could really do a blog on that.. or you can… mercy me… the Spanish blood in me just got a tad outta – hand.. wink.. not really but it felt good to say… I’ve learned how to control it (ulcers keep me in check)

            Take care, and always a delight hearing back from you my friend across the pond.. Mercy I love saying that.. sorry I use it so much.. but it’s an endearing statement my friend…

            Laura ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I liked Jackman as Wolverine in the X-Men movies, but here it’s pretty lackluster. ‘He has the hunky credentials for a manly role like โ€˜The Wolverineโ€™, but not much else, as far as I could tell.’ Now that’s a witty sentence.

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  6. In defense of Hugh Jackman, he has a reputation for being a rare kind of leading man in the modern era, a benign player off camera, unifying fractious film sets by deploying charm and bonhomie on EVERYONE – crew, extras as well as fellow big-names and directors. He is also more beautiful in the flesh. I know his kind of charm doesn’t make the film-viewing experience better (how could it with Wolverine’s side-burns?) but it has certainly helped film-making.

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    1. Nice to know some background to the man, Pippa, and to read your most welcome comment.
      I have seen him on chat shows, and always thought that he seemed very nice. He appears to be a genuine man, and good company too.
      As you rightly say, this post is about one film he starred in, and I stand by my criticism of that of course, without any personal attack on Mr Jackman.
      Best wishes as always, Pete. x

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    1. You were so right not to bother, John. It is just that I am so scathing of these franchises, I thought it only fair to watch another one. I won’t get those minutes of my life back though.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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