Expectations can weigh against a movie just as easily as they can work for it. The Wolverine draws its inspiration from a famously great comic book arc, is directed by James Mangold (who also helmed “Walk the Line” and “3:10 to Yuma”), has a screenplay that Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) contributed to and lets the famously nice Hugh Jackman flex his adamantium claws once more. The cherry on the sundae was that we could watch this and all forget that X-Men Origins: Wolverine ever happened.
I think all those factors must have overblown my expectations so much that, after seeing The Wolverine, one of the only positive things I can say about it is that it’s better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is pretty faint praise. Unfortunately, The Wolverine, in all of its bloated 136-minute run-time, never surpasses 2011’s X-Men: First Class, let alone 2000’s stellar X-Men or its 2003 sequel.
Instead of the gritty man-vs-self struggle the trailers promised, The Wolverine delivers something very different, something…well, sparklier. It was almost as if the movie should have been called The Wolverine: Twilight. Let’s see, there’s the love interest who is pretty, bland and devoid of personality despite the fact that we’re told again and again about how “special” she is. Of course, she soon becomes irresistible to the immortal and much, much, much older Logan (as in friends-with-her-grandpa old, kind of like Edward’s died-from-Spanish-influenza old). To complicate matters, she has a childhood sweetheart filling out the third corner of this weak love triangle who even has terrible Jacob hair. Then there’s the sister with the psychic powers that go inexplicably murky when it’s most convenient for the plot, a possible suicide attempt by cliff diving and even a villainess with vague talents and beautiful strawberry blonde curls, just like Twilight’s Victoria.
Wolverine deserves more than a Twilight retread, and hopefully he’ll get it in X-Men: Days of Future Past, which debuts next summer and is teased in this movie’s end credits. But until next May, I’m keeping my expectations low.
What did you think of The Wolverine?