Movie Reviews: The Wolverine
A lot of critics have their claws out for The Wolverine. Kenneth Turan, like other critics, bestows much praise on the performance of Hugh Jackman in the title role. Unfortunately, he adds, not even Jackman can completely rescue his character's latest outing. As directed by the usually reliable James Mangold, The Wolverine is an erratic affair, more lumbering than compelling, an ambitious film with its share of effective moments that stubbornly refuses to catch fire. Kyle Smith in the New York Post remarks that he might have found it thrilling if special-effects pictures came along four times a year instead of four times a month. As it is, I found myself spending most of it thinking, 'I guess this is going to be a fight scene. Here comes a chase. Another fight. Another chase. Aren't these villains falling like dandelions versus a weed whacker? Why is Wolverine impervious to a sword through the heart but captured when a bunch of arrows hit him in the back?' Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News dismisses it all as standard slice and dice. But several critics have many favorable things to say about the film -- mostly, however, about Hugh Jackman's performance. Says A.O. Scott in The New York Times: Mr. Jackman, for all his growling, flexing and macho wisecracking, keeps our attention focused on Logan's feelings. So does Mr. Mangold, even as he obeys the imperatives of the action-franchise machine. A modest superhero picture may sound like a contradiction in terms, but really it is a welcome respite. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune makes a similar point as he observes that the movie is evocative and lower-keyed than the usual Marvel bash. Who needs thundering music when you have Jackman glowering and raging and doing everything except tap dancing with those retractable claws? Likewise, the Associated Press's Jocelyn Noveck comments: At this point [Jackman] could play the role in his sleep -- but he doesn't, and the nuances he and director Mangold bring to the character lift this enterprise up from the usual blockbuster-sequel fare.