The Wolverine Review (MovieMantz)
July 23, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. --
“The X-ceptional Spinoff Wolverine Deserves”
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen
Directed by: James Mangold
X-Men fans, rejoice! Four years after everyone’s favorite Marvel mutant got the shaft with his first attempt at a spinoff movie – 2009’s mediocre “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – director James Mangold and screenwriters Mark Bomback and Scott Frank finally get it right (and then some) with “The Wolverine.” That’s right, this is “The Wolverine” – the superior stand-alone effort that the last one should have been, which also succeeds as a smart, exciting, engaging and superbly-crafted action thriller that even non-X-Men fans will enjoy.
It also represents a milestone for Hugh Jackman, who has now played Wolverine (a.k.a. Logan) a whopping six times – a record for an actor to play the same comic book-based character. Of course, that includes his awesome two-word cameo in 2011’s reboot “X-Men: First Class,” but his devotion to the fan favorite that made him a star is impressive, as he’s already set to wield his adamantium claws for the seventh time in next year’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Talk about an actor owning his character.
Based on the landmark four-issue mini-series from 1982 by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, “The Wolverine” takes Logan to Japan for his first time since World War II, where he saved a Japanese soldier from the atomic blast at Nagasaki. Now that person, a wealthy business tycoon, has summoned Logan to make him an offer he can’t refuse: a chance to end his immortality and live the rest of life as a normal human being. But that gift will come at a price, as Logan gets caught up in a web of deceit and betrayal in a culture that’s rife with deep tradition and codes of honor.
Though Darren Aronofsky was originally set to direct “The Wolverine” as his follow-up to “Black Swan,” it turns out that the film couldn’t be in better hands with James Mangold. With a proven track record in a wide variety of different genres that include a cop drama (1997’s “Copland”), a love story (2005’s “Walk the Line”) and a western (2007’s “3:10 to Yuma”), Mangold has crafted a very entertaining two hour and six minute film that works just as well as a deep love story as it does as a samurai-inspired action adventure.
“The Wolverine” literally starts with a bang and delivers from start to finish on two fronts: by delving deeper into Logan’s unexplored character than any of the previous X-movies, and by breaking so far from the conventional comic book-based format that it doesn’t even feel like a superhero movie (and I mean that in a good way). Of course, the martial arts-inspired fights and action scenes are exciting, especially during one thrilling set piece where Logan fends off his adversaries while riding atop a bullet train that’s speeding through Tokyo at more than 200-miles-per-hour.
After six movies, it’s safe to say that Hugh Jackman has Wolverine down pat. He also looks more ripped now than he did 13 years ago, when he played the character for the first time. Hard to believe that this is the same actor who just gave an incredible Oscar-nominated turn in last year’s musical, “Les Miserables,” but Jackman takes Wolverine to a deeper emotional level by doing away with the cigar-chomping one-liners that became a bit campy in later “X-Men” installments. Instead, the new film finds him grappling with guilt over the death of his long-lost love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), matching wits with his new sidekick Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and being drawn to Mariko (Tao Okamoto), the beautiful heiress he is trying to protect.
But if Logan starts the movie deep in the throes of an existential identity crisis, all bets are off when he finally embraces who he is – and just in time for a surprise bonus scene that easily ranks as the best since the first “Iron Man” in 2008. It’s one that’s sure to get fans pumped for next summer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which also marks the welcome return of director Bryan Singer to the X-fold for the first time since 2003’s “X2: X-Men United.” So if fans were looking for another reason to rejoice, then behold: “X” once again marks the spot.
Verdict: SEE IT!
Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Year-End Review 2013: The Best Movies
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz and Fandango correspondent Alicia Malone join Access’ Shaun Robinson to breakdown the best movies of 2013. Where did Sandra Bullock’s “Gravity” land on the list? Plus, which films do they see as the biggest Oscar contenders?
MovieMantz Reviews: Frozen, Black Nativity, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & Homefront
Scott “Movie” Mantz visits Access Hollywood Live to review the newest movies hitting theaters this holiday weekend. Did Disney’s “Frozen” warm Scott’s heart or leave him in the cold? Plus, how is Idris Elba’s performance as Nelson Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”? And, are “Black Nativity” & “Homefront” worthy of a “See It” rating?
Holiday Film Preview: Which Movies Are Must Watch?
With a ton of holiday films still to come, Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz and Fandango’s Dave Karger breakdown the must watch movies for the holiday season, including “Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “American Hustle.”
MovieMantz Reviews: Mandela – Long Walk To Freedom, Black Nativity & Homefront
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz calls Idris Elba’s new film, “Mandel: Long Walk to Freedom,” a “really powerful” movie. Also, why is “Black Nativity” so “hard to resist”? Plus, what does he have to say about Jason Statham’s new movie, “Homefront”?
MovieMantz Reviews: Disney’s Frozen & Nebraska
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz is calling Disney’s “Frozen” the perfect movie to see over the Thanksgiving weekend. Plus, why is Scott calling screen legend Bruce Dern’s role in “Nebraska” the performance of his career?
Idris Elba Discusses Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & Oscar Buzz
Idris Elba talks with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about the “relief” he felt for the positive reception he received for the Johannesburg premiere of his new movie, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” Also, he tells Scott about the “massive compliment” he received from Nelson Mandela’s wife, Winnie. Plus, how Idris feel about the Oscar buzz surrounding his film?
Naomie Harris’ Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom NYC Premiere
Naomie Harris chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about how great it is to premiere her new film, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” in New York City. Also, she tells Scott how great it felt to have Winnie Mandela’s blessing. Plus, Naomie is extremely flattered by the Oscar buzz surrounding her and Idris’ performances.
MovieMantz Reviews: Thor: The Dark World & The Armstrong Lie
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz says he liked “Thor: The Dark World” more than its predecessor – but, did he like it enough to recommend seeing it? Plus, what does Scott think about “The Armstrong Lie,” a movie which details how Lance Armstrong duped the world.
MovieMantz Reviews: Thor: The Dark World & The Armstrong Lie
Scott “Movie” Mantz visits Access Hollywood Live to review this weekend’s newest releases. Is “Thor: The Dark World” another hit for the successful Marvel franchise or is it a dud? Plus, is the new documentary, “The Armstrong Lie,” which revisits the Lance Armstrong performance enhancing drug scandal, worth checking out?
Will Forte Takes On His First Serious Role In Nebraska
Will Forte tells Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz why it was so “nerve racking” taking on his first serious role in “Nebraska.” Plus, he chats about bonding with director Alexander Payne over margaritas. So, how did he connect with co-star Bruce Dern?
Jaimie Alexander Dishes On Her Revealing Dress - Thor: The Dark World Hollywood Premiere
Jaimie Alexander chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about getting ready for the Hollywood premiere of “Thor: The Dark World.” How difficult was it to put on her revealing dress? What’s the secret to keeping it on? Plus, why does she think that “Thor” is the sexiest superhero of them all?
Stan Lee Talks The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Cameo: How Will This One Be Different?
Stan Lee chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at the Hollywood premiere of “Thor: The Dark World” about the big bucks the film has already made overseas, before the movie has opened in the US. Plus, what can he reveal about his cameo in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”?
Kat Dennings Talks Bringing The Humor To Thor: The Dark World
Kat Dennings chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at the Hollywood premiere of “Thor: The Dark World” about helping to bring the humor to the movie. Plus, why does she say the movie’s action and romance will be enjoyed by both men and women?
Zachary Levi Talks Joining The Cast Of Thor: The Dark World
Zachary Levi chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at the Hollywood premiere of “Thor: The Dark World.” How excited was he to join the cast? Plus, why does he think this movie is so popular with the Marvel fans?
Clark Gregg Talks Bringing The Marvel Universe Together On Agents Of S.H.E.I.L.D.
Clark Gregg chats with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at the Hollywood premiere of “Thor: The Dark World” about his journey through the Marvel universe. How exciting has it been to be a part of this world? Plus, will “Thor” make an appearance on ABC’s “Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.”?
Tom Hiddleston Reveals His Latest Impression: Anthony Hopkins!
Anthony Hopkins Dishes On Thor: The Dark World & His Breaking Bad Obsession
Anthony Hopkins brings his family to the premiere of this new movie, “Thor: The Dark World,” at the El Capitan Theatre where he praises the entire cast to Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz. Also, he talks about the phone call he got from Bryan Cranston after he received his “Breaking Bad” fan letter.
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor: The Dark World Hollywood Premiere
Chris Hemsworth talks with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz about the box office success of this new film, “Thor: The Dark World.” Also, how did he film his kiss scenes with co-star Natalie Portman, who is a foot shorter than him? Plus, Chris tells Scott how Mike Tyson inspired his fighting style in the Marvel movie.
MovieMantz Reviews: Dallas Buyers Club, Ender’s Game & Free Birds
Access movie critic Scott “Movie” Mantz says Matthew McConaughey gives the performance of his career as Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club” — but what did he think of Jared Leto’s work? Plus, what did he think of Harrison Ford in “Ender’s Game”? And, what does Scott think about Owen Wilson’s new animated movie, “Free Birds”?
Last Vegas, Dallas Buyers Club, About Time, Free Birds & Ender’s Game – MovieMantz Reviews
Scott “Movie” Mantz reviews five movies at a frenetic pace on Access Hollywood Live. MovieMantz will let you know where to spend your box office bucks this weekend in no time flat!
The Counselor & Blue Is The Warmest Color – MovieMantz Reviews
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz weighs in on this weekend’s new releases. Why wasn’t he a fan of “The Counselor,” despite the all-star cast? Plus, Scott reviews the foreign film “Blue is the Warmest Color.”
Bad Grandpa & The Counselor – MovieMantz Reviews
Access Hollywood’s Scott “Movie” Mantz gets ornery as his alter-ego “Grandpa Mantz” to review “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” & the new Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt thriller “The Counselor.” Are these new films worth watching? “Grandpa Mantz” will give his verdict if he doesn’t get kicked off the set first!
MovieMantz Reviews: 12 Years A Slave & All Is Lost
Access movie critic Scott “Movie” Mantz calls “12 Years a Slave” a “masterpiece,” but is it Best Picture material? And if so, can it beat “Gravity”? Plus, while Scott calls Robert Redford’s performance in “All Is Lost” “remarkable,” does he think it can be a contender?
MovieMantz Reviews: Captain Phillips; The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete
While Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz thinks Tom Hanks’ new movie, “Captain Phillips,” has all the makings of a great movie – why is he saying the film has some issues? Plus, what does he think of Jennifer Hudson’s new flick, “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete”?
Chloe Grace Moretz’s Carrie Premiere
Chloe Grace Moretz discusses why “Carrie” is “more relevant” today with Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz at the premiere in Los Angeles. Plus, she talks about why she didn’t want to know when the bucket of blood would fall on her when she filmed the movie’s iconic prom scene. So, what was it like being covered in fake blood?
All Is Lost Review (MovieMantz)
Captain Phillips Review (MovieMantz)
Enough Said Review (MovieMantz)
Gravity Review (MovieMantz)
Toronto Film Festival Roundup: 7 Must-See Movies (MovieMantz)
Star Trek Into Darkness Fans Boldly Set the Record Straight
Blue Jasmine Review (MovieMantz)
Star Trek Into Darkness: Is It Really The Worst Star Trek Movie Ever? (MovieMantz)
Europa Report Review (MovieMantz)
The Wolverine Review (MovieMantz)
The Way, Way Back Review (MovieMantz)
White House Down Review (MovieMantz)
World War Z Review (MovieMantz)
Man Of Steel Review (MovieMantz)
The Hangover Part III Review: The Party’s Over (MovieMantz)
Star Trek Into Darkness Review (MovieMantz)
Iron Man 3 Review (MovieMantz)
42 Review (MovieMantz)
Oscar Predictions 2013: Who Will Win/Who Should Win (MovieMantz)
Top 10 Movies Of 2012 (MovieMantz)
This Is 40 Review (MovieMantz)
Zero Dark Thirty Review (MovieMantz)
Life Of Pi — MovieMantz Review
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Review (MovieMantz)
Lincoln Review (MovieMantz)
Top 10 Baseball Movies Of All-Time (MovieMantz)
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz countsdown the top 10 baseball movies of all-time. Play ball!
Top 10 Movies Of 2012 (MovieMantz)
Access’ Scott ‘Movie’ Mantz counts down the best movies of 2012!
MovieMantz: Top 10 Christmas Movies Of All-Time
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz breaks down his top 10 favorite Christmas movies of all-time, with some titles that you might not expect!
MovieMantz 2011 Oscar Predictions: And The Oscar Will Go To…
Who will walk away a winner on Hollywood’s biggest night? Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz weighs in with his predictions!
MovieMantz: Oscar Predictions 2010 — ‘It’s Complicated? Hardly!’
Who will walk away a winner on Oscar night this year? Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz weighs in with his predictions!
MovieMantz: Best Movies of the Decade
Find out which films made MovieMantz’s list!
MovieMantz: Best of 2009
For the first time in a while, I actually had a hard time picking just 10 movies for my annual year-end best-of list. Ah, if I only had this problem every year…
MovieMantz Countdown: Top 10 Scariest Movies of All Time
Access’ Scott “Movie” Mantz counts down the top 10 horror films of all time!