After the abomination that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I actually was pretty surprised that they were having another go around with the character. The first Wolverine film had very little respect for the history of the character and Marvel Universe in general.
So, I came in The Wolverine very cautiously. I mean, if they did it for the first film, they can easily do it for their follow-up, right? Thankfully, it seems 20th Century Fox learned their lesson because The Wolverine is a really good superhero movie.
By the way, this is going to be a SPOILER-FREE review so you can read on without worrying. Well, nothing you haven’t seen in the trailers anyway.
The Wolverine takes place a few years after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan, has quit the X-Men and is still feeling guilty over killing Jean Grey. He gets tracked down by a Japanese man who he saved way back in World War II but is on his death bed. He says he can give something that Logan wants: mortality. Of course, something happens (can’t really say what since it may be considered a spoiler) and Wolverine has to go back to doing what he does best: kicking ass!
The plot of the movie borrows heavily from an older story arc in the comics, which is a good thing. It’s not an exact copy so fans who did read the story before will be surprised at how some of the characters are reimagined for the film. It may bother some diehard fans of the comics but they were changed brilliantly in my opinion.
Hugh Jackman does a pretty decent job with his portrayal of Logan/Wolverine. Well, he better since he’s been cast in the same role for six films (yes, I’m including the cameo in X-Men: First Class). He actually has to do something that the previous films haven’t been able to do: give Wolverine some depth. Logan has to deal with killing the love of his life as well as dealing with other feelings. And he did it pretty well.
The rest of the cast is hit or miss. The rest of the male cast are fine. But the female cast are pretty extreme. The girls that portray Mariko Yashida and Yukio (Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukishima, respectively) do pretty well with their characters. Both of them come off extremely likable. Unfortunately, the woman who plays Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) was bad. Not “Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class” bad, but definitely hammy.
The action scenes are pretty intense and a blast to watch. Although it’s a PG-13 film, there a good amount of violence with Wolverine having to stab and slice his way through a ton of baddies. Logan himself gets gutted a couple of times! Nothing too graphic, though.
I have a feeling some people will complain about the middle portion of The Wolverine since this is when the action dies down. Well, I’d definitely disagree with them. This is when the film does a great job in showing a lot of Logan’s personality. It’s also this long lull in the action that prevents this from becoming a mindless action flick since it takes time to tell a great story.
If I were to make a complaint about the plot, it would be how the story gets… weird. The first and middle acts are pretty believable… well, believable for a film with superheroes. This all goes away during the final act as it devolves into silliness. Yes, it’s a comic book movie but it goes against the tone that was set by the previous acts.
Still, this is a pretty minor complaint. The Wolverine is a great superhero… no, it’s a great action film in general. Definitely watch this.
By the way… and I cannot stress this enough… STAY DURING THE CREDITS! There’s an extra scene that hints at what the next X-Men film will be about.
Did you watch The Wolverine? How does it stack up against other superhero films? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.