When Wolverine is summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, he is embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.
Director: James Mangold
With the total dominance of film the past few summers that is Marvel, it’s hard to imagine one franchise being as big as The Avengers and all of their individual films that has been going on as long. Well, actually, there is one: one character that has been in five films before 2013; one actor that has reprised a comic book role for over ten years, longer than the zombie and vampire fad that swept through television and film, and longer than the entire Harry Potter series. As you clearly know by the review you’re reading, I’m talking about Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. This is his sixth appearance as Wolverine, starting with X-Men in 2000, and ending [?] with 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Jackman has been a staple and an example for all of comic book films in our generation, and he finally has his own standalone film set in the present.
Taking place after 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine is based on the Japanese saga of the comic books, and tells the story of Logan [Jackman] being beckoned to Japan by Yashida [Yamanouchi], an old acquaintance that he saved from certain death in WWII who now is the most powerful businessman. Yashida is dying, and offers Logan a chance of his own to be relieved of his healing powers and to life and die as a normal man. Logan declines, but before he can leave, Yashida dies, and at his funeral, a gang attempts to kidnap the future leader of the Yashida company: his granddaughter Mariko [Okamoto]. Logan must overcome a weakened state of healing, brought on by a poison made by Viper [Khodchenkova], to save Mariko and put an end to the corrupt gang of politicians and samurai.
Thankfully, this film avoided the huge VFX problems that Origins ran into and looked great. This was the first Marvel movie made for IMAX 3D, and you could tell; some big time camera shots and CGI.
And that wasn’t the only thing looking good. (I can’t believe I’m making this transition) Hugh Jackman, for the first time in his long Wolverine career, says he had enough time to get in the exact shape that he always wanted Wolverine to have. He even got in contact with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to get some advice on bulking up. He even went through the same ridiculously intense tactic of dehydration dieting [he did the same in Les Miserables].
The story given to us by Bomback and Frank, however, doesn’t look so good. With a lot of cliches, we see the same kind of repetitive action/hero story that countless other films have employed. The details of the motive of the “bad guys” is murky, and I really didn’t know why many things were happening. I don’t even know why Hugh Jackman stayed in Japan to protect this girl for no apparent reason. The character of Mariko is also just clueless and senseless, literally showing no emotion or reaction to being kidnapped and almost killed. Like, what the shit is wrong with this girl? Oh, and then Wolverine semi-falls for her. Okay.
The one cool thing about the film takes place with about 20 minutes left, where there is actual development in the Marvel universe and the Wolverine story. Also, the post-credits scene was a perfect pre-cursor to the upcoming X-Men film.
2/4 – Another great looking Marvel film, but The Wolverine is a completely average comic book story. There is some really kick-ass action, however.