Critics Consensus: The Wolverine Is Pretty Sharp

Plus, The To Do List is uneven but sweet and funny, and The Way, Way Back is Certified Fresh.

This week at the movies, we've got an embattled mutant (The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman and Rila Fukushima); an uptight valedictorian (The To Do List, starring Aubrey Plaza and Johnny Simmons); and a lonely teenager (The Way, Way Back, starring Liam James and Steve Carell). What do the critics have to say?

The Wolverine

69%

Wolverine may rank among the most beloved heroes in the Marvel universe, but thus far he's been deprived of a big-screen vehicle worthy of his stature. Still, critics say The Wolverine is much sharper than Logan's previous solo effort, X-Men Origins: Wolverine; though it has a few dull patches, the film features terrific fight scenes and a typically full-bodied performance from Hugh Jackman. This time out, Wolverine heads to Japan for a reunion with a soldier whose life he saved years before. Soon, our hero must defend the man's granddaughter from all manner of ninja and Yakuza assassin. The pundits say The Wolverine doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's a rock-solid, smartly scripted, surprisingly introspective superhero flick. (Check out our gallery of X-Men on the silver screen.)

The To Do List

51%

The female-centric teen sex comedy is a rare beast, which may be why critics find The To Do List so refreshing -- or perhaps it's the winning presence of Parks & Recreation wiseacre Aubrey Plaza. Intent on upending her prim-and-proper ways before college, recent high school grad Brandy Klark (Plaza) makes a list of every licentious activity she shunned in her pursuit of academic perfection -- and quickly discovers how little she knows about teenage romance. The pundits say The To Do List is uneven and occasionally predictable, but it's also immensely charming, thanks to a terrific performance from Plaza and a crack supporting cast. (Check out RT's video interviews with Plaza, co-stars Bill Hader, Scott Porter, and more.)

The Way, Way Back

85%

The Way, Way Back goes wide this week after charming audiences during its limited run, and critics say it's a keenly-observed, well-acted coming-of-age tale that makes up in heart what it lacks in originality. Liam James stars as an introverted teenager who forms an unlikely bond with the manager of a water park (Sam Rockwell). The pundits say the Certified Fresh The Way, Way Backis funny, bittersweet, and true to life, and boasts excellent supporting turns from Toni Collette and Steve Carell.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Johnnie To's Drug War, an action thriller about a Chinese meth manufacturer who must turn informant to take down a powerful cartel and save himself from execution, is at 94 percent.
  • Springsteen And I, a crowdsourced documentary that compiles fan footage of the Boss in concert, is at 91 percent.
  • Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett in a drama about a well-to-do socialite whose world collapses around her, is at 84 percent (check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Allen's best-reviewed movies).
  • Frankenstein's Army, a found-footage horror film about a group of Russian soldiers who stumble upon a legion of stitched-together soldiers in the waning days of World War II, is at 56 percent.
  • Wasteland, a crime drama about a falsely-convicted ex-jailbird who attempts to strike back at the drug kingpin who cost him his freedom, is at 45 percent.
  • The Time Being, starring Wes Bentley and Frank Langella in a thriller about an eccentric man who makes a series of bizarre requests to a young artist in exchange for patronage, is at 17 percent.
  • Breaking The Girls, starring Agnes Bruckner and Shawn Ashmore in a thriller about a college student who is drawn into a murder plot, is at zero percent.
  • Stranded, a sci-fi thriller starring Christian Slater as the leader of a lunar military unit left high and dry by a mysterious meteor shower, is at zero percent.

Comments

filmmaniac123

Aakash Kumar

Will definitely check Wolverine out! I imagine that if the third act was stronger, it could have gotten at least a 75! Awesome that Woody Allen is back in form again. Blue Jasmine seems to be great!

Jul 25 - 05:16 PM

Nicole H.

Nicole Haley

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Jul 29 - 05:40 AM

Celena L.

Celena Lels

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Aug 5 - 02:48 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

"Wolverine" still looks like the first Wolverine from the trailers to me. I wish they would just go back to issue #1 from 1988 and make THAT movie. Maybe Jackman won't have as much baby oil this time around.

I might be the only one who thinks "Frankenstein's Army" looks f'cking awesome. Goddmamit! NAZI FRANKENSTEIN ARMY! When you got no budget, that's when the creative juices flow. I'm there!

Also want to see "Drug War". Johnnie To's "Election" and "Fulltime Killer" are modern HK classics. "Springsteen and I" doesn't look half as much fun as the Beastie Boys similarly shot "Awesome...I F'cking Shot That". I want to see "Way Way Back" (Sam Rockwell!), but I may wait for a rental. Also, maybe it's me, but I don't think "Time Being" or "Breaking the Girl" look that bad. "Stranded" however....well, let's just say, from the director of "Battlefield Earth". Any questions?

Jul 25 - 05:23 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Frankenstein's Army uses old school creature make-up and effects, from what I read. Might be worth a watch for that alone.

Jul 25 - 09:30 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm hoping for something in "Troll Hunter" territory.

Jul 27 - 06:50 PM

Jess Hurley

Jess Hurley

I hope it's better than Troll Hunter. Troll Hunter was an over rated waste of film. They could have wrapped the whole movie up just showing the troll at the and and it would have improved everything.

Jul 28 - 12:51 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Bah.

Jul 29 - 07:51 AM

Sir Phobos

Sir Phobos

Eh, Wolverine may be a rental at some point. Not liking the lack of other mutants I am hearing about. Hopefully he says "Berserker Barrage" at some point.

Jul 25 - 07:49 PM

Andre Watson

Andre Watson

it was terrible there are three mutants one of which has powers..........

Jul 26 - 01:54 PM

Ryan Nolan

Ryan Nolan

It was a really good character piece with some truly brutal fights in it! I loved it...and how exactly would they be able to fit in Jackman saying 'berserker barrage' without it sounding totally lame?

Jul 27 - 07:31 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Wolverine looks like it will be far better than Origins but the trailers I've seen haven't delivered that WOW Moment that I think Wolverine deserves.

Jul 25 - 08:13 PM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

Damn i wish Darren directed Wolverine.

James Mangold is just one of those directors that aren't bad but not good. just blah. so forgettable. they have good films and bad but nothing to really go crazy over. its weird how some directors get stuck in limbo like that. I guess that what happens when you don't have a style of your own.

Jul 25 - 08:22 PM

D.j. Nichols

D.j. Nichols

Mangold did direct 3:10 to Yuma which was VERY good. Probably one of the best westerns in the last 20 years (IMO).

Jul 25 - 09:00 PM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

yeah but he also did Knight & Day

Jul 26 - 10:33 AM

Ryan Nolan

Ryan Nolan

He also did Walk the Line.

Jul 27 - 07:32 PM

Elizabeth Anthony

Elizabeth Anthony

And of course the simple minded males will rush out to see a mindless action picture to satisfy their taste for carnage thus encouraging the greedy producers of Hollywood to turn out more stupid movies for stupid young men. Sigh.

Jul 25 - 08:32 PM

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

I'm sure plenty of "simple minded" females will see it too. At least you proved that woman can be sexist too.

Jul 25 - 09:12 PM

Anna Mohamed

Anna Mohamed

LIKE

Jul 26 - 05:40 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Not a Woody Allen fan? You got a lesbian thriller with "Breaking the Girl", at least.

Jul 25 - 09:19 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Ignorance people. Why are there so many Real Housewives series? Oh ya, simple minded females.

Jul 25 - 10:12 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

The majority of TV is devoted to dimwitted fat chicks.

Jul 26 - 04:48 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Same with my sex life. Boom!

Jul 26 - 09:21 PM

Brian Cananzey

Brian Cananzey

LMAO BOOM!!

Jul 27 - 08:03 PM

Eriberto Medrano

Eriberto Medrano

Just like how simple minded women can't resist horrible love stories like The Twilight Saga. Thank God, it's over.

Jul 25 - 10:12 PM

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philip

Can't get any more elitist than that.

Jul 25 - 11:03 PM

Michael L.

Michael Leeman

Ouch! "Why so serious?"

Jul 26 - 06:32 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

Ever heard of the Twilight movies? Ok, it's shut the fuck up time.

Jul 26 - 06:51 AM

Overfed Jed

Overfed Jed

Don't ah pay any attention to her. She is a ah troll. Take a ah look at the Pacific Rim forum FORUMS to see ah see her work.

Jul 26 - 07:04 AM

Andre Watson

Andre Watson

no no they won't because this movie (wolverine) is terrible

Jul 26 - 01:55 PM

scifimark

scifi mark

Yup, just like mindless females will go see another crappy rom-com movie

Jul 27 - 06:13 PM

Ryan Nolan

Ryan Nolan

It was actually really character driven and thoughtful, not a typical action movie....well, the last 20 minutes maybe....

Jul 27 - 07:35 PM

Dave J

Dave J

A female user makes a stereotypical comment on here that is relevant to the article in question and she gets spammed by 3 different people! What is this world coming to!

Jul 31 - 12:56 PM

D.j. Nichols

D.j. Nichols

Mangold did direct 3:10 to Yuma which was VERY good. Probably one of the best westerns in the last 20 years (IMO).

Jul 25 - 09:00 PM

shadypotential

Chris Cox

yeah but he also did Knight & Day

Jul 26 - 10:33 AM

Ryan Nolan

Ryan Nolan

He also did Walk the Line.

Jul 27 - 07:32 PM

Tino Pecchia

Tino Pecchia

I want to see Wolverine but i'm not rushing out to the theater this week, maybe next week. I really want to see Blue Jasmine but it's not playing near me.

Jul 25 - 09:03 PM

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

I'm sure plenty of "simple minded" females will see it too. At least you proved that woman can be sexist too.

Jul 25 - 09:12 PM

Anna Mohamed

Anna Mohamed

LIKE

Jul 26 - 05:40 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Not a Woody Allen fan? You got a lesbian thriller with "Breaking the Girl", at least.

Jul 25 - 09:19 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Frankenstein's Army uses old school creature make-up and effects, from what I read. Might be worth a watch for that alone.

Jul 25 - 09:30 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I'm hoping for something in "Troll Hunter" territory.

Jul 27 - 06:50 PM

Jess Hurley

Jess Hurley

I hope it's better than Troll Hunter. Troll Hunter was an over rated waste of film. They could have wrapped the whole movie up just showing the troll at the and and it would have improved everything.

Jul 28 - 12:51 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Bah.

Jul 29 - 07:51 AM

Jon Cox

Jon Cox

I was amazed to learn that 3 movies are coming to my mall in the city this weekend! I'm very glad now I'm going to be at the theater a lot now :)

seeing 'The Wolverine', 'The To Do List', and 'The Way Way Back' finally!!!

Jul 25 - 09:46 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Ignorance people. Why are there so many Real Housewives series? Oh ya, simple minded females.

Jul 25 - 10:12 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

The majority of TV is devoted to dimwitted fat chicks.

Jul 26 - 04:48 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Same with my sex life. Boom!

Jul 26 - 09:21 PM

Brian Cananzey

Brian Cananzey

LMAO BOOM!!

Jul 27 - 08:03 PM

Eriberto Medrano

Eriberto Medrano

Just like how simple minded women can't resist horrible love stories like The Twilight Saga. Thank God, it's over.

Jul 25 - 10:12 PM

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philip

Can't get any more elitist than that.

Jul 25 - 11:03 PM

Matt Ritchey

Matt Ritchey

THE WOLVERINE is SO MUCH BETTER than the first solo movie. Definitely worth a watch. It falls apart in Act Three, but the rest of it is pretty great. Hugh Jackman is, unsurprisingly, terrific.

Jul 26 - 02:38 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

See but that's kind of a sticking point with me. I'd rather a movie that starts out badly with a great ending, than a film that loses everything near the end because... well you leave feeling like you should have done something else.

Jul 26 - 04:51 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

Stop trolling people please

Jul 27 - 11:10 AM

Joni Barton

Joni Barton

I agree, Val. Wolverine was an excellent movie until the last 5 minutes. Very lame ending.

Jul 28 - 06:47 PM

Andre Watson

Andre Watson

I am politely going to have to disagree the lack of other mutants and blatant disregard to any sort of character building on the supporting cast made no sense. There was lots of talking a few cool fights (train) and a lot more hugh jackman stumbling as he "isn't healing like before". I mean I love bad movies but this was just boring as hell

Jul 26 - 01:57 PM

Ryan Nolan

Ryan Nolan

It doesn't lose everything at the end, the tone just shifts as things become less about character and more about giant samurai robots and evil mutant scientists.

Jul 27 - 07:37 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

The majority of TV is devoted to dimwitted fat chicks.

Jul 26 - 04:48 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Same with my sex life. Boom!

Jul 26 - 09:21 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

See but that's kind of a sticking point with me. I'd rather a movie that starts out badly with a great ending, than a film that loses everything near the end because... well you leave feeling like you should have done something else.

Jul 26 - 04:51 AM

Zane B

Chum Chum

Stop trolling people please

Jul 27 - 11:10 AM

Joni Barton

Joni Barton

I agree, Val. Wolverine was an excellent movie until the last 5 minutes. Very lame ending.

Jul 28 - 06:47 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

I can't wait to see The Wolverine, as it looks like it might be the best Super-Hero movie of the year thus far (Though I have high hopes for Thor: The Dark World, as Christopher Eccleston can do no wrong). The To Do List sounds stupid, and though I kinda like Aubrey Plaza, I definitely won't be checking it out. I'd really like to see The Way, Way Back, providing it opens in Ireland. As per usual, the rest won't come here until they get a wide release, but Blue Jasmine sounds pretty good, so I'll probably catch that one somehow.

Jul 26 - 06:30 AM

Michael L.

Michael Leeman

Ouch! "Why so serious?"

Jul 26 - 06:32 AM

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