Friday, January 10, 2014

The Wolverine

Marvel Comics has certainly created over the years a vast and intricate mythological history for the X-Men series.  I haven’t followed it, except through the various films over the past several years that seek to bring it to life.  I am not a fan of the series, but not necessarily a detractor either.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.  Some of the films, or certain scenes within them, have been striking.  In The Wolverine (2013; dir. James Mangold), we see the atomic bomb blast at Nagasaki from a prison camp across the bay.  It’s an unexpected and impressive perspective, to be sure, especially when Wolverine and his Japanese benefactor dive into a well to avoid the fiery blast.  I didn’t know Wolverine was around for WWII.  The film alludes to certain facts about his creation, but in general it dramatizes the Wolverine’s struggle to recover from his grief over the death of Jean (another X-Men mutant), whom he killed in an earlier film, and to come to grips with the fact that he is who he is, immortal and invulnerable but also fundamentally isolated.  In the films I’ve seen he’s always struggling with this issue.  He needs to get over it.  As far as existential struggles go, this is one-note angst.

Hugh Jackman is a good actor.  He was quite effective in Les Misérables, a film I otherwise didn’t much care for.  Why does he choose to be typecast as the Wolverine?  Certainly it means he gets to work and therefore earn money.  But aren’t there other roles for him?  He’s one of the producers of this film.

In a final scene at the Tokyo airport, Magneto and Xavier (back from the dead) alert Wolverine to yet another threat against mutants, setting up the next film.  It’s crucial the franchise continue.

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