Going in to see “The Wolverine”, every bone in my body was prepared for yet another disaster, the likes of which would follow in the footsteps of “X-Men III: Last Stand”, and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”; however, it would seem that Fox along with director James Mangold and the wolverine himself, (Hugh Jackman), have brought back this once devastated series from the brink of annihilation. Taking place after the events of “X-Men: Last Stand”, “The Wolverine” does the job it set out to do, which was to make a powerful, character driven stand alone movie which could lead to bigger and better things.
If you came to see “The Wolverine” expecting an all out thrill ride that revolves around the clashing beast that is ‘the wolverine’, turn back now. Action scenes are few in this film, and in fact, may have less action that the first five X-Men installments, so much so that it would almost seem more appropriate to have named this film “Logan”, instead of “The Wolverine”. That isn’t to say that it is a worthless film. I actually graciously enjoyed seeing Logan in this environment, one where his claws won’t get him out of every situation. The fight scenes however did feel more impactful when they arrive. A false sense of security will easily lull the audience in until the metaphorical, (and actual), gun is fired.
Mangold did an excellent job in this film with conveying how beautiful but deadly Tokyo can be, (and not only with the landscape). The actors truly meshed well with one another; that is to say, all besides one. Svetlana Khodchenkova plays the ever so devious mutant ‘Viper’, which, after a closer observation, had no real purpose in the film besides to simply have a leading female antagonist. She would kill, poison, or torture anyone who got in her way… which sounds cool in theory, but in all honesty, she had no reason for doing what she was doing. She had no master plan, and she didn’t even play a faithful puppet. Her entire roll was a meaningless character who could eventually be faught.
WARNING: some spoilers ahead. As the film begins we are introduced to a solemn, broken down and isolated Logan, (One that we’ve encountered many times before, had you seen the first five installments to the X-Men series), nothing new here besides the lumberjack beard. Jackman does do an amazing job at sporting a tortured-soul character, one that had to live through the death of everyone his loved ones, and even his enemies. It is evident here that the wolverine is a part of Logan that he would never truly accept again.
Through a series of dreams, it is revealed to the audience that Logan is seemingly haunted by his past, i.e. the murder of his loved one, Jean Grey, (Famke Janssen). Jean Grey’s appearance in this film was accepted with open arms, and truly allowed the film to progress at a greater speed, leaving out the ulterior possibility of having unwanted flashbacks of Logan’s misery. Yet as the film progress’ not only minutes, but hours, and you are still witnessing Logan’s dreams of ‘Jeany’, it would be quite understandable for you to grow slightly annoyed.
The Catalyst that throws Logan into a series of ninja fights is an invitation to Tokyo to visit an old ‘frenemy’ on his deathbed. Enter the old paralyzed Yashida, (Hal Yamanouchi); a man so close to death that it takes odd looking metal spiders to keep him alive. Yashida offers him the choice to opt out of life, a curse that has plagued Logan ever since World War II, when he suddenly stopped aging. And here in lies the path that Logan must set foot down.
Disregarding cheesy plot twists and out of place flashbacks, “The Wolverine” helps bring faithful comic book fans back to the root of one of their favorite heroes. I would absolutely recommend seeing this film is you are an avid comic book fan, or simply a fan of the superhero genre movies. If you aren’t one of those, you may have a hard time keeping up with the film. If at all possible, see it matinee. And as always, make sure to stick around throughout the credits. As you may have guessed, the credit scene involves a set up to next year’s upcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, as well as the return of a few faces, and a quick mention to who the villain will be. If you saw “The Wolverine”, comment bellow and tell us what you thought of the movie or the credit scene.
Rotten Tomatoes Score as of 7/28/2013: 67%
My Score: 80%