The Wolverine [Review]
If X-men Origins: Wolverine, or X-Men Last Stand left less than a good taste in your mouth The Wolverine should help. I thought the latter two movies were OK, I enjoy them in the comfort of my home, for the light entertainment they are. The Wolverine, I thoroughly enjoyed, in spite of many of its faults. If you want to see Wolverine be his cheerful berserker self this should be exactly what you are looking for.
The Wolverine picks up after the events of Last Stand. Logan (Hugh Jackman) has gone into a self-imposed exile, unable to get over the fact that he had to stab Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). The story in The Wolverine starts long before the events of Last Stand, August 9 of 1945 in Nagasaki Japan, to be exact. Logan, who appears to be a POW at this time, saves the life of a young soldier named Yashida (Ken Yamamura/Haruhiko Yamanouchi). Now nearly 70 years later Yashida is old and dying of cancer and wishes to repay Logan, so he sends Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a young mutant who can see the future, to find and bring Logan back to Japan. Once in Japan Yashida offers Logan mortality in exchange for his mutant healing powers. Logan refuses, and then things get weird, but that’s OK because Logan is just as confused as the audience is. Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), is nearly assassinated and kidnapped by the Yakuza at her grandfather’s funeral. Wolverine breaks out his claws and gets a little stabby saving Mariko, but when injured, he discovers he no longer has the ability to heal. Queue plot point number 7 (ish), Yashida’s doctor is a mutant called Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) that suppressed Logan’s healing ability so he and Mariko could be captured, with the help of Mariko’s childhood boyfriend Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada). However, they Wolverine is not going to let a little thing like bleeding to death stop him, and they are in for one hell of a fight.
The biggest problem in this movie is its lack of a single antagonist. While the mysterious villain may be intriguing in some genre films, it is not here. Granted there are revelations near the end that tie all the in cohesive villains together it is not a big enough payout for the finale to be as gripping as it should have been. This complaint is a relatively minor one. Something I see as slowing the film down needlessly. At times there seem to be baddies thrown in the way just to provide an excuse for a fight. Not that I would complain, the action sequences are fantastic.
The biggest positive of this film is the story. The story is rich and filled with emotional trysts. The more than competent Hugh Jackman portrays these deep emotional conflicts brilliantly. It is a pity he will likely not be considered for many awards for this film. I believe he deserves much more recognition than he is going to receive. A close second, is the incredible fight sequences. My only complaint is a slight overuse of handheld cameras during these sequences.
Overall, it is not a perfect film, it isn’t even a perfect super-hero genre film, but it is a good movie, and it is highly entertaining. It is an excellent conclusion to Wolverine’s storyline, while setting up the next in high fashion (stay through the credits). Go for the stabbing, stay for the snarky Wolverine quips. 3.5 out of 5.