This Rotten heatwave has taken a toll on all of us East Coasters. I mean I’ve had to turn my air conditioner up to high for like four straight days and swim in my pool more than the usual twice-a-day dip. Hey, we all make sacrifices from time to time. It comes with the territory. As the heat breaks we have a light week for the Rotten Watch with Wolverine bringing his claws back into theaters.

*I will not be doing a prediction for The Way, Way Back as there are already more than one hundred reviews up for this flick.

Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.

The Wolverine
One thing I love about movies, and its what makes them such a timeless art form (until we just enter a time of scientific advancement that will allow us to enter virtual reality making our own personal movies and finally tuning out the external world once and for all) is the possible self-corrective nature of iconic characters and storylines. Comic-Con illustrates this kind of eternal hope, the dreams that beloved characters will get the treatment they deserve. Why else would thousands of folks trek out to San Diego for a week other than for the chance to see things like a Batman and Superman team-up, Thor and Captain America crushing it again and X-Men footage providing some fanboy goosebumps. Movies, especially ones based on comic book characters, carry the kind of pop-culturally historical weight that is so hard to replicate. When a character has been around in print and movies for about forty years there’s a desire, a yearning, for a movie adaptation to get it right. The first Wolverine standalone story X-Men Origins: Wolverine (38%) didn’t do it. It came close, but seemed more concerned with providing screen time to other characters in the Marvel Universe than focusing on Logan (Hugh Jackman) and his history. It was a choppy adaptation that left fans disappointed.

But like I said, movies offer second (or third, or fourth) chances and this Wolverine story looks like a winner. Picking up in a timeline after X-Men: The Last Stand (57%), The Wolverine is based on Chris Claremont’s and Frank Miller’s Wolverine Volume 1 and centers on the mutant’s time in Japan. Directed by James Mangold (Knight & Day-52%, 3:10 to Yuma-88%, Walk the Line-82%), this film is an early winner with critics. Sitting at 69% through sixteen reviews, early eyes on the ground seem pleased with the output and how Logan’s story gets the big screen treatment it deserves. Though this score will surely dip a bit as the week stretches on, initial opinions do matter.

Wolverine is a complex character with more than enough backstory to fill the big screen many times over. He’s layered and mysterious, funny and rough around the edges. Jackman has always worn the claws well, and was a big reason X2: X-Men United (87%) was such a hit. Which made the first Wolverine all the more disappointing. Hopefully this movie corrects that mistake and continues its positive run with critics. The Rotten Watch for The Wolverine is 63%


Did Doug get it right on his Wolverine prediction?
RESULTS
Recapping last week:

An up and down week last time with four movies entering theaters. Let’s get to the bad first.

Red 2 (Predicted: 63% Actual: 40%) fell well below expectations and significantly below its predecessor. This is probably to be expected considering the original was such a surprise hit, that trying to replicate the success with a sequel was bound to fall short. The trailer threw me off as it looked like a quirky good time with a strong cast. Katey says as much in her review mentioning Willis as having a good time on screen. But the rest of the story appears to miss the mark making for a lackluster score and a well-off prediction.

Meanwhile R.I.P.D. (Predicted: 33% Actual: 11%) was a piece of [email protected]#$. Whenever I think a movie is going to be bad, I always hem and haw about how low to actually go with the score. In some ways I’m happy with this prediction because I was only off in the “just how bad will it be” category. But it was still off by a considerable margin. I mentioned in my write up how this looked like a Men in Black clone. Was I right? Check out this piece by Kristy Puchko detailing the similarities in the two movies’ trailers.

Now let’s get to the wins. Turbo (Predicted: 64% Actual: 66%) was almost dead on. Part of the credit here goes to DreamWorks whose movies, especially of late, are remarkably consistent in this range. That kind of history made the prediction easy as I put it right in line with the others. We’ll take it.

And finally The Conjuring (Predicted: 76% Actual: 85%) just made it. I had a bit of a head start here, but expected the score to dip a bit over the course of the week. The needle didn’t really move but stayed just within ten percent.

Next time around we grab our two guns and head back to visit the Smurfs. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

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