“It’s an honour to meet the Wolverine.”
Now, some people will tell you there’s already been three Wolverine movies, and that’s not even including the “Origins” flick. Yes, the world’s most popular X-Man has become a little over exposed this last decade or so. His popularity is not undeserved though; Wolverine remains one of the most badass superheroes to ever grace the page and the screen. “The Wolverine” is a strong testament to that fact.
The film follows Logan, years after leaving the X-Men and discarding his Wolverine persona, living a quiet life in the Yukon wilderness. He’s soon found by a woman who works for a wealthy Japanese businessman, who wishes to see Logan before dying, and thank him for saving his life during WWII. Logan obliges, and finds himself embroiled in the middle of a war between Yakuza thugs, mutants, ninjas, and government officials. Of course along the way he’s forced to protect a beautiful heiress, all the while suffering from a sudden loss of his healing abilities. It makes for some tense action.
“A lot of people have tried to kill me, and I’m still here.”
The movie has its weaknesses. The acting is nothing to write home about, and the fight scenes can be a bit repetitive. They also become noticeably restrained when you realize that there’s almost no blood in a film about a man with twelve inch knives between his fingers. The love story is shoehorned in with almost no real buildup. They meet, they run, she whines, they bone. End of story. The script could’ve used a good polishing from someone who didn’t write “Race to Witch Mountain”, but I digress. No one goes to a Wolverine movie for the Oscar-worthy dialogue. That said, there’s a few badass lines sprinkled throughout, and Logan is never without the perfect comeback. He even says “fuck” once (apparently becoming a calling card after his “First Class” appearance).
The action is well shot and exciting, if a little overly long sometimes. Wolverine pulls some sweet stunts and lands some brutal kill moves that remind you why he’s the top dog of the franchise. The story itself is interesting and actually has a couple twists I can admit I didn’t see coming. They take a few liberties with certain characters, most notably the Silver Samurai. Some fans may be disappointed with the change, but it doesn’t approach Ryan Reynolds/Deadpool territory. If the film had one major weakness, it was the villains. They just weren’t very imposing. We barely see any of the “lead villains” throughout the film, and when we finally get to the heart of it, they just don’t measure up to previous baddies like Magneto or Phoenix.
“Eternity can be a curse.”
The film’s biggest asset is Hugh Jackman. He has become so synonymous with the Wolverine character that it’s become quite difficult to see anyone else playing him at this point. He’s at his most comfortable with the character here and manages to make the wild loner deep, and thoughtful. DC seems to have the monopoly on dark, thought-provoking superhero films, while Marvel has its hands on the glitz and glam of CGI action-fests. “The Wolverine” gives us a bit of both, with Jackman’s performance giving us a deeper look at Logan’s psyche. We see the damage of a lonely, eternal life, and the guilt he feels over Jean’s death at his claws. It makes for a more poignant, engaging adventure with the character.
Overall, “The Wolverine” doesn’t break any new ground in the X-Men franchise. It develops a character that we all already know and love (or hate, for some of you). It also sets the framework for the upcoming “Days of Future Past” film next year with a couple of highly awesome cameos in a short mid-credit scene. In the end, it’s another romp in a foreign land with a lovable badass with terrible, and completely unapologetic, hair. And it’s well worth checking out.