Early Reviews For The Wolverine
Hugh Jackman's latest portrayal of the feral X-Men doesn't hit theaters here in the United States until July 26. It's due to be released on foreign markets, including the UK, on July 24th. The reception for the first Wolverine film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was lukewarm in the minds of fans and was absolutely bashed by critics. This film, the sixth so far in which Jackman has appeared as the popular Marvel anti-hero, is set after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and is based on the acclaimed classic 4 part mini-series helmed by comic industry heavyweights Chris Claremont & Frank Miller that ran from September through December 1982. The mini-series is credited with being a major launching point for the character and, in time, his popularity would reach levels comparable to comic book heavyweights like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man & The Incredible Hulk. Some of the first reviews of the film were released today.
As is the case with a lot of comic book films, the reviews seem decidedly mixed at this point.
The review of the film found in The Guardian read:
The film's opening hour is an evenly-paced gangster thriller that toys with the character as cultural export. He's a snarling beast, adrift in a society that runs on the individual's commitment to keeping their true nature concealed. There's obvious parallels with Logan's own struggle to contain his bestial nature, at least until Mangold unsheathes the set pieces and lets the Wolverine run riot. It's here – in the middle of the roaring and cutting that we've seen rejigged many, many times before – that our interest falls to pieces. The fights are predictable, the scenery disappointingly drab considering the potential in Tokyo's neon-lit wonder-world. Wolverine's mutant foe – a slinky, acid-spitter called Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) – slides in and out of the narrative, shedding skin and goodwill with each appearance.
The reviews in The Daily Telegraph & The Daily Mirror, out of the UK, read:
This new film trades meaninglessness for joylessness, and it may be the series' huffiest entry yet. ... Sorry, but didn’t superhero films outgrow all of this five or so years ago? Where is the quicksilver wit and lightness of touch of the Avengers and Iron Man films, or the formal ambition of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy? The previous X-Men film, First Class, was secure enough in its own skin to embrace its comic side. Mangold’s picture affects a pubescent snarl instead: that’s the difference between comic and daft.
To its credit, The Wolverine is less concerned with the let’s-level-a-cityscape formula of other superhero flicks such as Avengers Assemble, The Man Of Steel and Iron Man 3 and more interested in character development.
The problem is that, aside from the odd moment where our man flashes his claws, this looks an awful lot like one of those burn-and-churn cheapies that Nicolas Cage would sign up for.
Which, thinking about it, is just about the biggest insult you can level at a movie.
However, fan reviews for the film have been glowingly positive. The review of the film on the fan site Gotham News reads:
I've enjoyed aspects of Hugh Jackman's four previous portrayals of Wolverine but was never really a fan. This movie has made me one. It earned my fandom through cohesive storytelling, engaging characters and gritty action. The cinematography is fantastic, especially the wide shots that let you take in the majesty of the stunning Japanese landscapes. ...
The final product we're presented with is as good as the best X-Men movies that came before, enhanced by modernized effects and more a focused narrative. It's the antithesis to X-Men Origins, and refuels the popular hero with the same sense of purpose Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins did for The Dark Knight.
Another glowing review for the film can be found on ComingSoon.net, which is under the umbrella of CraveOnline just as SuperheroHype.com and WrestleZone are:
Fans of the character disappointed by "X-Men Origins" who have been clamoring for a great Wolverine movie, one that lives up to Bryan Singer’s early "X-Men" movies, should be thrilled. Those just wanting a solid, well-made action film might be surprised by how much depth Mangold brings to the mix. The results are the best comic book movie of the summer and one that rarely feels like a comic book movie.
Total Film.com has a more grounded, though still positive view, of the film:
Yet though it doesn’t have the vibrant wit and zip of an Avengers Assemble, or the allegorical grandeur of a Dark Knight, it’s a step up from the garbled silliness of Wolverine’s first solo outing. Unlike Origins, the storytelling is more sharply focused here, ignited by flashes of stylised superheroism.
True, there’s probably one too many scenes of steel striking adamantium. But the 3D-assisted action is never less than spectacular, notably during a Kurosawa-flavoured ambush that sees Wolverine turned by arrows into a mutant pin-cushion.
RottenTomatoes.com currently has the film at only a 55% "Fresh" rating with a total of 11 reviews in all. Of those reviews, 6 of them are "Fresh" and 5 of them are "Rotten".
The success of The Avengers has really set the bar at an all time high when it comes to the critics belief in comic book film excellence. It's understandable when you consider just how well of a rounded action movie The Avengers is. As a result, I doubt there'll be many other films of the genre that will be able to impress them as much. As of right now, it's looking like The Wolverine is going to get a reaction similar to what we saw with Man of Steel: critics were generally split right down the middle between good & bad reviews while fan reactions have been extremely positive. For instance, IGN.com gave Man of Steel a 9 out of 10 while the market research firm CinemaScore polls reports an average grade of A- based on opinions from moviegoers.
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