Alan Dee’s movie preview: The Wolverine nails a standard summer blockbuster challenge
If you ask me, the Hollywood suits who gave the green light for this week’s serving of summer blockbuster have really missed a trick.
Yes, The Wolverine is packed with all the special effects action you’d expect to see.
But the one thing we all know about Hugh Jackman since his star turn in Les Miserables is that the guy can certainly hold a tune.
So why did nobody think of Wolverine: The Musical? It’s not that much of a stretch, and it would probably have tapped in to a whole new demographic.
But hold that thought – and if a Wolverine sequel with the monster most in need of a manicure warbling through his motivations ever appears on a screen near you, be assured that I will be pursuing those responsible for a slice of the action.
Back to the movie in a minute, but as it’s the only release likely to trouble the multiplexes this week some padding is in order. I’ve done my research – the wolverine, Latin name gulo gulo, is also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, and it’s the largest land-dwelling species of the family mustelidae. Thanks, Wikipedia.
It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids, and has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself.
But as far as the world at large is concerned, Wolverine is the hairy one out of X-Men, as played by Mr Jackman in a string of previous films.
Now he’s back centre stage, and the set-up finds him lonely, vulnerable and aimless.
The call to action comes in from a mysterious young woman who brings him to Japan where, what do you know, he is put to the test once again and has to learn to control the rage which makes him such a fearsome foe.
So that means there is plenty of Samurai-style slice and dice action, some cod inner karma philosophy and outings galore for those adamantium claws which make buying gloves such a trial for our hero.
It’s less big and stupid than some other heatwave headliners, and Jackman in the lead does his best to invest some depth into his troubled character.
He’s impressively muscular when the circumstances demand it, but he’s also conflicted and searching for some sort of peace. You could even imagine him belting out a moving ballad on the subject, couldn’t you?
For action fans, there’s nothing startling here although there’s a bullet train scene which will really get the pulses racing.
Director Tom Mangold’s last big budget movie outing was the Tom Cruise stinker Knight & Day but we won’t hold that against him – this is solid, but not spectacular, summer fare.
Click on the video link to see what Hugh Jackman thinks about his latest role