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The Wolverine

The Wolverine character has been very kind to Hugh Jackman with the popular Marvel Comics hero catapulting him to movie-stardom.  ‘The Wolverine’ marks his fifth full-length screen appearance and is his 2nd solo outing.  A more solid effort than ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, the savage hero’s latest adventure successfully captures the essence of what has made him enduring.

 

Travelling to Japan to escape his past, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) seeks solace.  He meets Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada), a crime lord and head of a powerful group of assassins.  Learning true vulnerability as he faces new opponents, the ways of the Samurai become important combat tools.  Battling dangerous foes, Wolverine questions his past while fighting for his future.

 

Tough, fast and packing punch ‘The Wolverine’ is a compact block-buster.  It has plenty of depth with its tale of someone thirsty for normalcy.  As Wolverine attempts to live his life free of forced heroism, his demons always appear ready to drag him down.  How he deals with them provides interest amongst the spectacle.  James Mangold directs the expected mayhem with a steady eye on a story more involving than usual.

 

Whilst Jackman’s acting limitations are still apparent, he equips himself admirably in the action sequences.  These see his character and others partake in many gravity-defying escapades.  In spite being completely over the top, they are excitingly executed.  That’s the main aim of any comic-book inspired film and one should be grateful the decent cast and crew provide the eye-popping scenes with skill.

 

‘The Wolverine’ is a strong slice of cinematic fluff most should enjoy.   Using Japan’s locales to great effect, the steel-clawed hero receives an energetic vehicle on which to display his mighty abilities.

 

Rating out of 10:  7

This Is The End

The blurring of reality and fantasy has long been a story device.  What constitutes ‘reality’ is an interesting point to ponder with it becoming fodder for countless TV shows.  Most are staged and one should never believe what we see.  This is used to good effect in ‘This Is The End’.  Featuring celebrities starring as ‘themselves’, whether what we see are their true personas makes for a good guessing game.  This adds an amusing coda to a comedy making the end of the world look suitably chaotic.

 

Attending a house-warming party hosted by fellow actor James Franco, a group of stars look forward to a good time. Among them are Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Michael Cera.  Enjoying being with other performers, the party is spoiled when they learn the world is ending.  Seriously annoyed at this party-spoiling occurrence, they battle to survive as the planet crumbles around them and ruins their well-planned evening.

 

‘This is the End’ is reminiscent of the National Lampoon movies.  A popular American comedy staple from the 70’s and 80’s, which gleefully swam in a sea of crudity and obnoxious behaviour.  ‘This is the End’ is somewhat smarter although not much.  Rogen and cast have fun sending themselves up as they parody their public personas.  Their interaction in a time of global crisis is reasonably well developed despite the plot’s increasing silliness.

 

Negating this is the ‘men behaving badly’style humour which, whilst initially amusing, quickly becomes tiresome.  Coupled with a pretentiously self-indulgent tone dilutes its impact.  One would have expected cleverer humour given the talent, although ‘This is the End’ re-enforces the theory that stylish wit remains the bastion of their English counterparts.  By the conclusion the film glides on auto-pilot with a barrage of ridiculous imagery swamping its initially promising premise.

 

There have been far worse comedies than ‘This is the End’, although it is just as unsubtle.  Those enjoying transparent humour may like it even if it shows one Hollywood party no one would want to attend.

 

Rating out of 10:  3

 

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