This film (based on a real incident) follows Oscar Grant on the last day of his life. He spends time with his friends and family, then takes the train into San Francisco to celebrate NYE. Michael B. Jordan creates a complex character, one who was raised right and is basically good, but struggling with challenges. The rest of the cast also convincingly inhabits their roles (esp. Octavia Spencer as the mother). At first, this personal portrait seems to wander aimlessly, but once the deadly incident happens, it takes a grippingly dramatic turn. With a moment of violent prejudice at the crux of the film, new director Ryan Coogler never revels in outrage. Nothing’s overplayed. It effectively sets up the man and his life, then powerfully crashes it down.
GAY ANGLE: There’s a brief, positive encounter with a lesbian couple.
Hugh Jackman returns as the (often shirtless) comic book mutant. He goes to Japan, where he gets embroiled in a ridiculously convoluted plot with a bunch of villains. There’s one decent action sequence (on a train), but the rest are shot in a blur and edited in a confusing frenzy. Meanwhile, the pace is demolished by a lot of gnashing of teeth (literally) and drama (the usual inner demons). I was embarrassed for Jackman because this is so lamely written and poorly constructed. NOTE: Stay thru the early credits for a teaser with 2 cameos.
GAY ANGLE: Jackman’s overpumped torso is usually in a wife beater or nothing.