By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where hey, Bub — we’re not finished with you yet. This week, Jarrod & Birdy celebrate Hugh Jackman’s seventeen year-stint as Wolverine by assessing James Mangold’s just-okay 2013 film, ‘The Wolverine’. Then Birdy tests Jarrod’s mettle in a game we’re calling, “You Don’t Know Jack(man)”.
As always, be wary for spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.
ANTI-MONITOR — MATT: For almost two decades, Hugh Jackman has been the face of Fox’s X-Men franchise, and after a pitiful attempt was made to tell the Canucklehead’s own origin story, James Mangold found himself tasked with delivering a standalone story of Wolverine that didn’t totally blow. Well, with 2013’s The Wolverine, he did just that. We finally have a movie about Logan that didn’t outright suck necessarily, but it was still far from a great endeavor. With the bar set very low, The Wolverine exceeded every expectation: there are dynamic action sequences, solid character development, and a well-deserved focus on the man formerly known as Weapon X. At first glance, it’s a pretty solid X-Men movie.
Unfortunately, when looked at with a broader lens, what is revealed is a convoluted, over-stuffed comic movie. Hugh Jackman does his best to claw his way through a dense story (one that could have benefited from another pass or two), but this is a classic case of the parts suffering the sum. There are at least two gratuitous characters that sap energy from the film, including the woefully miscast Viper and a ninja that serves only to shoot arrows through the convoluted plot. All gripes aside, James Mangold made one of the least terrible movies in the X-Men canon. But one can’t help but hope he really makes amends with Jackman’s swan song, Logan, because for Pete’s sake… Hugh deserves it.
ANTI-MONITOR — JARROD: Seventeen years is a long time to play any character, let alone a hard-scrabble runt who spends his off hours getting stabbed and shot again and again and again. For Hugh Jackman, Wolverine probably wasn’t this Aussie actor’s only shot to enter into the annals of genre film legend: he was handsome, charismatic, tall — too tall for the character that made him famous, but that didn’t stop Jackman from acting the shit out of the role and making us love him for it anyway.
Jackman will always be the best non-Stewart/McKellan part about the X-Men franchise, and 20th Century Fox knows it. That’s why there’s an added feeling of finality that comes attached to Logan, the actor’s (purportedly) final bow as the character — where the X-Men franchise will go after this year remains up in the air. Before we begin to speculate about the future, I took a look at the past; with The Wolverine, I’m glad I did. Its mountain-of-intrigue storyline always makes me chortle, and Fox’s mutant effects are especially gross this time around, but Jackman sells all of it magnificently. I’m gonna miss this guy.
CONSENSUS: Sharp and kinetic but also bloated and absurd, The Wolverine manages to sit on the better end of the X-Men movie spectrum. 6.5 out of 10
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