7:00 PM, 7th September, 2013
If you are hesitant about seeing this movie simply because of a possible scarring experience with the first of this Marvel series, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, don’t be. The Wolverine was made to be something new and different, a standalone film that fits into the Marvel universe but liberates itself from the limitations of a standard sequel.
This time we see Wolverine (Jackman, in his sixth time playing this career-defining role), being taken to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
The choice of director alone signals the refreshing change this film brings. James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted, Walk the Line) tries to break away from the stereotypes of action movies which build upon the three acts structure of: the super villain ? attempting to stop the super villain ? succeeding in stopping the super villain. Of course all the excitement of an action movie like this will still be there – the unique powers and a wealth of high-octane action scenes. What will keep you glued and hooked however, is a much more internal story about the character; his yearnings, fears, depressions; and what is truly beneath the Wolverine that makes him one of the most fascinating and unique heroes of our childhood.
9:21 PM, 7th September, 2013
It’s hard to remember, but as little as a decade ago, superhero movies were rare and surprising. Unlike today, where a dozen or so comic-book heroes make their way into cinemas every year, you had to wait a bit. Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men films did major work in changing the trend – with a topline cast (including a star-making role for Hugh Jackman) and grand heroic plots, these films helped Hollywood to start taking superheroes seriously.
X2 amps up the stakes of the battle between humanity and mutant-kind immediately, with a demon-like mutant, Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), attacking the White House. This leads to a military attack on the mutant school run by Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart), and to his team of X-Men being split; some captured, the rest on the run. Inevitably Wolverine (Jackman) finds himself drawn in again, this time to fight a threat that connects to his mysterious past. One person who knows more than he’s saying is the X-Men’s former enemy, Magneto (McKellen) – who still has his own agenda in play.
For a story with so many key characters, X2 keeps a surprisingly tight focus. There’s the usual mix of heroics, superpowers, fights and scrapes, but there’s also a very solid sense of character – these people are all clearly defined and you feel for them and understand their dilemmas.