Wolverine, Meet Jean Valjean- Eric Boshart
The fate of a soldier, the relentless pursuit of pure justice, finding purpose within living eternally: James Mangold put forth a noble effort in trying to claw through these themes, but it’s a hit or miss at times. A side note, Mangold, you can’t simply explain themes in dialogue because you’re afraid that the audience wouldn’t catch them otherwise. If you don’t think the themes are getting through, try adding a scene or two that furthers emotions that take us to the themes. If you explain through dialogue, you treat the audience like monkeys. And even though most of us are, there’s no benefit in presenting us this fact.
But I’m getting too into it. The most important aspect of the movie to recognize is this: Deborra-Lee Furness must LOVE when Marvel season comes around, for Hugh Jackman truly embraces his role of remaining ageless. The first time he accepted the role of Wolverine was the year 2000. 2000! Thirteen years later, he’s only gotten more fit. I mean, sure, he’s developed the chest of an Italian macho man. You know what I’m talking about, the chest Pierce Brosnan developed for James Bond. But it works. If Hugh Jackman had any more veins popping out, I’d think he was Bane from the old Batman movies (the awful ones). Imagine the euphoria his wife experienced after he prepared for the role, because before, he was starving himself (and her) for Les Miserables. Living with someone as frail as that has to be difficult. And there you have it, a whole paragraph dedicated to Hugh Jackman’s body.
But that note isn’t the only reason I mention Jean Valjean in the title (I say they meet, after all). There were moments in the movie of stillness, pure silence, when the Wolverine reflects on his past and the decisions he has made. He was so pensive, so…weak-looking. I thought he was going to break out into song. I thought Anne Hathaway was going to pop up from around the corner and sing with him in synchronization. But oddly enough, those are the moments in the film that lay an impression on you. The ability to relate to a hero is paramount, and these moments of solemnity make him look like a non-mutant that much more. But if you’re going to do melodrama, there’s a fine line between being emotionally gripping and looking like The Young and the Restless. And Mangold tip-toed ever so delicately on that line. I’m making the movie sound awful, and it wasn’t. Truly. There were moments of witty dialogue, excellent foreshadowing through the camera, and obviously amazing action scenes. But because I said something good, I now have to say the one thing I hated most: the one-liners before he went into battle.
When he said those wretched lines, I wanted to be every one of his victims. They made me cringe more than the thought of adamantium flowing through my body. My analogies can continue, but I’ll spare you. But when you try to make a darker Wolverine and throw in melodrama and make him non-mutant and create something surreal, you can’t use one-liners. It’s a cardinal sin! Kevin Spacey from Se7en will commit a murder resembling that sin. In the other Wolverine movie, sure. In this one, not effective.
Overall, you should watch if you were not satisfied with the other Wolverine movie. If you were satisfied, there’s something wrong with you. If you want to see Hugh Jackman perform at an impressive level, go watch The Fountain. If you want to see him pummel thugs and think about it later, this is the movie for you.