I Saw A Film Today… The Wolverine

TheWolverine_posterLogan “The Wolverine” has had a hard few years at the cinema. Really, as much as I liked the earlier X-Men films directed by Bryan Singer, the character has had a rather pathetic run. I think one of the real crutches of X-Men is that too much weight is put on his shoulders. Those films are more about him and his search for identity than they really are about the team in general, which is a bit disappointing. I hoped Origins would have given some freedom to the character, but instead I’d rather forget it exist. Can Hugh Jackman redeem this side of the X-Men story?

Weapon X (Jackman) can’t sleep well. He is still plagued by the death of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and spends much of his time in the Alaskan wilderness living off the land. But after being tracked down by a dying Japanese business mogul named Yashida wishing to say goodbye to him, he decides to ditch the caveman look and pay his respects.

But when the old man offers him the gift of mortality, Logan turns him down and plans on leaving Japan as soon as possible. Regardless, Logan is drawn into more than he bargained for when he must protect the granddaughter of the now dead Yashida, Mariko (Tao Okamoto).

To call The Wolverine a work of redemption for the miseries comic fans had to endure during X3 and Wolverine: Origins is in my opinion a rather fair description. Yes, it has it’s share of troubles, such as a at-times stagnant story and a weak final act, but it is a truly entertaining flick, which isn’t something you could say about the two above-mentioned films.

The action sequences were the best aspect here. The scene, albeit sadly short, atop a speeding bullet train was one of the most entertaining scenes I’ve seen all summer. The script, sadly, was the weakest. It was mediocre writing at best, with a story structure that has been recycled non-stop since the 90’s, leading to a tired and well-seen final act. Why Marvel wouldn’t stick with people who have been involved with the studio before is beyond me.

Hugh Jackman has said that he will continue being the Wolverine as long as he is allowed to. Let us hope that is a long time before he decides to hang up the wife-beater. It would be hard to think of anyone else in the role legitimately, which I don’t say often. He is believable in a role that could easily turn mickey or take the piss. He brings intensity, even in the weakest moments.

As for the rest of the cast, they are more or less effective as you’d expect from a Marvel cast. Both main female leads, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima, are genuinely interesting and not in the film because some studio executives decided “we need hot Asian foxes… make one a bit punky”. It’s actually a bit surprising how well they both are performing considering their limited experience in the field. Sadly, the villain here, Viper, was a bit disappointing.

The Wolverine is a refresher in a series of films that has had it’s up and downs. And I’m interested to see how this film will mix with the forthcoming Days of Future Past and the possible X4.

Verdict: See it!

*Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language.

**Thanks to my friend Cody for seeing this with me.


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