Review: Only Jackman makes 'Wolverine' interesting
This publicity photo released by Twentieth Century Fox shows Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine in a scene from the film, "The Wolverine." (AP Photo/Twentieth Century Fox, Ben Rothstein)
Don't get us wrong. We don't mean to take anything away from the more substantial qualities of "The Wolverine," a fairly satisfying if not stellar installment in the saga of the famous mutant that Hugh Jackman's been playing since, wow, 2000. (For a little perspective, Bill Clinton was still president.)
But let's just point out that Jackman bares it all in a brief but memorable scene in a bathtub, and the studio would be wise to advertise this scene as much as possible. Because Wolverine is all about Jackman, and not only is the actor in amazing shape, but he's funny in the scene, too. So why not flaunt it?
Jackman's been in good movies and not-as-good movies, but one thing he's never lacked is charisma. Whether hoofing it in a Broadway musical or crooning as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables," that charisma makes him always worth watching. And so, whether you're an X-Men fan or not, it's Jackman that makes "The Wolverine" worth watching, too.
This publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper, left, and Hugh Jackman as Logan in a scene from "The Wolverine." (AP Photo/20th Century Fox, Ben Rothstein)
Oh yes, the movie. Well, as we mentioned, it's fairly satisfying. On the plus side, we get to know the Wolverine, aka Logan, a little better. We also see him physically challenged, losing some of his mutant healing powers, which gives Jackman a nice chance to display weakness.
There are also some welcome funny moments in the script, many having to do with its Japan setting. When Logan and a young woman he's protecting want to hide, they enter a Japanese "love hotel" where, they're informed, their room options are: dungeon, nurse's office, or Mission to Mars. (They pick the latter). Also pay attention to Logan's great comeback after throwing a bad guy out a window into a swimming pool.
And director James Mangold sets one terrific action scene — the film's best — on a speeding bullet train, making great use of those claws. Turns out, bone bonded with adamantium makes for rather efficient train-roof gripping.