Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to face his own demons. (imdb.com)
After the abomination that was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” many fans were left to wonder what was next for the superhero icon of the X-Men franchise. Thankfully, “The Wolverine”, the 6th X-Men film, 5th in the franchise focusing on Hugh Jackman’s (X-Men Franchise, Les Miserables) iconic Logan character, is the solo Wolverine film that does the character some justice (last seen in 2003’s X2: X-Men United).
There is a definitive difference “The Wolverine” takes as opposed to its predecessors. While the other X-Men films relied heavy on action, this film takes a more storybook approach. It relies heavily more-so on storytelling and dialogue, as well as trying to introduce whole new world of friends and foes.
However, it was the twists of the film that brought and maintained my interest. This movie has managed to do something no other X-Men film prior has been able to do.
Make Wolverine interesting in battle.
Up until this film, whenever Wolverine fought someone you know he would always come out on top due to his regeneration powers. This film takes all of that away from him and the difference while not overwhelmingly obvious (Logan still manages to have a superhuman train fight with a few mobsters), it is nice to see the filmmakers take away Wolverine’s best attribute and see how he manages without it for a time.
Even near the end of the film, when he gets his abilities back, there are still some twists that make him mortal.
The acting is magnificent. While it is headlined by Hugh Jackman portraying Logan/Wolverine once again (the guy has played the same character for 13 years), it is the supporting characters that manage to steal the show. Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy) is fantastic as the evil Viper.
She’s the kind of villain that leaves you wanting more and are somewhat angry that she didn’t get enough screen time.
Rila Fukushima as Yukio was a fantastic addition to the film. She’s a total badass and the scenes she and Jackman share are very entertaining. The way the two play off each other are somewhat brother/sisterly but there’s still a sense of admiration the two share for each other.
Tao Okamoto (making her film début) as Mariko didn’t really stand out at first, but as the film progresses, the girl’s got some acting chops. I really hope to see her character appear in a future Wolverine film.
That’s not to say this film is not without flaws. It did in fact made me realize that this X-Men universe will admit that the events in X-Men: The Last Stand did in fact happen and weren’t just a horrible dream caused by late night drinking. Jean Grey is still dead, and it’s because of Logan.
At times the dialogue can get boring and some scenes can become repetitive. There are several scenes in which Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) appears to Logan and while I understand they convey the guilt the character has for his past “mistakes”, the scenes begin to become tedious the 3rd-4th time they happen.
Also, this may just be me thinking this, but since Fox Studios has already planned “X-Men: Days of Future Past” to come out next summer, I feel that this movie may get lost in the shuffle and forgotten in the X-Men universe while earlier crap sequels (X-3, Origins) will always be remembered by fans.
Days of Future Past is being billed as the quintessential X-Men movie, combining both the old cast (from X-Men 1-3) with the new cast from “X-Men: First Class” as they fight a new evil.
Having “The Wolverine” be released a year earlier while promoting DOFP hurts the value of the film. You know Logan will survive in the end to be around for the next film, although to “The Wolverine’s credit, he’s not the same man, which I’m really curious to see how they merge that into the next film.
All in all, “The Wolverine” is a totally different superhero movie. It doesn’t have the insane amount of action as a “Man of Steel” or “Iron Man 3”.
Instead its less is more approach, combined with good storytelling, a great setting, and allowing the audience to find out more about Logan through the eyes of others as well as seeing The Wolverine do his thing makes for a hell of a superhero film.
I give it 3 claws out of 4.