So I have mixed feelings about this film. While some critics have already embraced this movie as far better than the 2009 X-men Origins that featured Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, I did not really think that it was as awesome as it was hyped up to be, despite the fact that it was a decent superhero movie.
The events of The Wolverine takes place after X-Men:The Last Stand, with Logan still suffering from the guilt of what cost he had to pay to save the world from Magneto and the Phoenix/Jean Grey. Living as a recluse on the mountains, he is one day approached by a Japanese ronin named Yukio who asks him to visit an old soldier whom he saved from the Nagasaki bombing. According to Yukio, Yashida (the soldier) has become a wealthy tycoon in Japan and wishes to see Logan for one last time to say goodbye. When Logan grants the old man’s dying wish, he gets more than what he signed up for as he tries to protect Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko from elements who wish to destroy her because of the fortune bequeathed to her by Yashida.
I was really excited about this movie because the Japan arc of the Wolverine comic book was particularly interesting. I felt that it was a great platform for Hugh Jackman to show off his acting chops as well as his action chops in a new environment away from the rest of the X-men and the other mutants.
On the one hand, it was good that the filmmakers chose to highlight Wolverine’s vulnerability in this film as opposed to his strength and agility in the previous films. However, it seemed like sometimes, the team was overselling the tortured soul act that it got kind of depressing. Don’t get me wrong, Jackman is an awesome actor and could play any role flawlessly. It was just that, as a superhero movie, I was expecting it not to be such a downer. Actually, I am slowly beginning to get annoyed by trend where superhero flicks forcibly inject dramatic elements to the film which take up half of the movie, and I think Wolverine fell into the same pit.
As for the action scenes, there were ones that I really liked (train scene) with a lot of innovative and creative stunts, and some that I didn’t like (street chase) because all of the running (the cameras included) made me dizzy. There were a lot of great sword action going on with all of the samurai and ninjas in this film. There was no doubt that the Japan element was well and truly incorporated into the movie.
One complaint I might have had about the movie was the manner in which the story deviated from the mythos. The original story, I believe, had more depth to it and the team should have simply pursued that storyline rather than water it down to the predictable plot that they pursued for The Wolverine. Had they done that, the movie would have been ten times more badass than it already was.
In contrast, the cast was very strong and made up for whatever weakness the movie may have suffered from the weak script. My favorite of the lot, hands down was Rila Fukushima who played the spunky yet vulnerable Yukio. I think her character played off really well with Logan, creating a Logan/Jubilee type vibe between the two which was a joy to watch.
Wolverine is one of the most popular and beloved heroes from the Marvel universe and for good reason. As a comic book character, he is tough and sensitive at the same time and in the movies, Hugh Jackman perfectly translated the character to the big screen. All in all, I don’t ever think that there will be a bad Wolverine movie, and this one was not bad. Not really. It has its strengths and weaknesses but as a standalone, it was pretty solid. Let’s just say that The Wolverine is not my favorite.
A tip though: Stick around for the ending credits — a great teaser for the next movie in the franchise — X-Men:Days of Future Past. One word. Epic!