CalArts Alum James Mangold Creates an ‘Intimate’ Blockbuster in ‘The Wolverine’

The Wolverine, directed by CalArts alumnus James Mangold (Film/Video BFA 85) and starring Hugh Jackman, opened at No. 1 in 100 countries this past weekend, earning $141.1 million worldwide.

Jackman returns in the titular role of the 20th Century Fox film, with the adventure moving to Japan as the Wolverine becomes embroiled in a family’s problems with yakuza (gangsters), samurai, corporate executives and corrupt politicians.

In his review of the film, The New York Times’ A.O. Scott writes:

It has all the requisite special effects and big-ticket action sequences — including a fight on a moving train and a climactic punch-out between the hero and a villain in an oversize metal suit — but it also has an unusually intimate, small-scale feel. Inspired by a series published by Marvel in the 1980s, it has more old-style comic-book atmosphere than “Man of Steel” or “Iron Man 3.” Instead of expounding a tedious origin story or staging an epic battle for apocalyptic stakes, “The Wolverine” focuses on a specific and self-contained adventure in a richly imagined place.

And Mr. Jackman, for all his growling, flexing and macho wisecracking, keeps our attention focused on Logan’s feelings. So does Mr. Mangold, even as he obeys the imperatives of the action-franchise machine. A modest superhero picture may sound like a contradiction in terms, but really it is a welcome respite….

We’ve posted The Wolverine trailer, above. The film is currently in theaters worldwide.

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