The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman is back with the latest in the X-Men franchise and the second of his stand alone films. Surely it has to be better the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine? As it really can’t get much worse.

The Wolverine starts with our hero isolated and alone with only his dreams about his dead love Jean for company. Then he is approached by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a mutant girl who can forsee people’s deaths. Logan once saved her employer Yashida’s life many years ago and wants to thank him on his death bed. Once in Japan Logan finds that Yashida wants to do more than thank him as he offers to take away Logan’s immortality and live a normal life. Things get more complicated when mysterious men try to kidnap Yahida’s grandaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto)  and her and Logan end up on the run.

First things first. Yes this movie is so much better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The story is base on the comic mini series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller and the change of location to Japan helps rejuvinate the Wolverine. Logan is placed in a country where he relearns about respect and honour and finds his purpose again.

The Wolverine is more of a personal stand alone story. There is some references to Jean Grey and other parts of the X-Men franchise but  rather than the mutant overload in Origins, Wolverine  himself is the main focus of this story and doesn’t get overwhelmed by a mix of new characters.

Some audiences may want a bit less brooding and personal discovery and more action but I think this film does a good balance. There is a great chase scene through Japan’s streets and nail biting sequence on top of a train. It helps that this film feels like there is something at stake here. Logan has been made vulnerable due to Viper’s meddling so there is a sense of threat that hasn’t been there before, every wound he gets will slow him down which could have fatal consequences.

The supporting characters also feel like they have more of a purpose this time around. Rather than shoehorning in lots of characters from the X-Men comics the film is more selective. The female characters in this film are great. Mariko initally comes off rather passive and dull but she improves as the film continues and even kicks some ass as well. She also makes a good counterpoint to Logan. She is reserved and calm where Logan is full of anger and passion. She serves as a reminder that there are other things to live for in this world and of the good Logan can still do. Even better is Yukio, who manages to be a badass and be the fun sidekick to Logan’s surly hero. She also brings an emotional edge as her power is to forsee other people’s deaths.

Svetlana Khodchenkova as Villianess Viper is campy and fun, with a bit of a grusome body hrror when she starts peeling off her own skin. Although I liked Will Yun Lee as Kenuichio Harada, an old friend of Mariko and deadly with an arrow I felt he was underused and his character not explored enough.  

Considering it is so much better than Origins it would be easy to forget the film’s downsides but they can’t be forgotten. First off it’s eays to figure out who the villians are. The main twists of the film can also be worked out pretty quickly. Although the film’s climatic scenes are good they also go a bit over the top and jar a bit with the rest of the film.

However while it may not reach the heights of Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, it is still a fun blockbuster with a great performance by Jackman. Japan seems to suit the Wolverine well so lets hope he manages to make more visits back East.

Rating 3.5/5-A vast improvement on Origins, which is all I could have hoped for.


Filed under Reviews

10 responses to “The Wolverine

  1. Not great, but still a lot better than I expected from a Wolverine’s own outing. Especially with the action, that pulls you right in and rarely lets go. Good review.

  2. Origins was soooo bad. I’m looking forward to watching this, I’m a bit of a Japanophile. Great review Lauren

  3. That’s a really good point about find his purpose again in Japan because in the beginning of the movie he’s lost, aimless, basically wanting to be with Jean (in the afterlife). Nice review.

    • Thank you. It does seem like this is Wolverine’s spirtiual home as it re-energises him and gets him back to being the bad-ass we all know and love. I hope they go back to Japan again for the next film.

  4. Hi Lauren, I never got around to sharing my thoughts on this film with you back in July so now I wanna discuss it. Great review yo, pretty much hit the nail on the head. Personally I really liked this film, like you said it was WAY better than that disgusting 2009 film and that is all I ever wanted. There was some smart things done with the tone and structure of the story, I liked the Japanese setting and the fact that it didn’t feel like a conventional comic book film.

    Hugh Jackman was a beast in this film, he looked amazing and this was easily his best portrayal of the character. Mariko and Shingen was awesome and Yukio was cool too. The only issues I had with the film was Viper (she was dull) and the whole third act (including the cutting of Wolverine’s metal claws).

    Otherwise it was a good film, the unrated version is a lot better with additional violence and blood. 🙂

    • Yes Viper was dull, it was a shame becuase otherwise the film has lots of cool characters. I really liked Yukio and it looked like Jackman was enjoying making this movie more than the last one. God that was an awful film.
      I haven’t seen the unrated version but sounds like it would be quite cool to see.
      I hope he goes back to Japan for the next Wolverine film as I felt it really suited his character. I haven’t heard what they intend to do yet but I’m keeping my fingers cross that he’ll be back in Japan with Yukio and Mariko. What are you hoping to see in the next film?

      • I cannot stress how much I destest Orgins, it was a film that scared me mentally when I watched it again last year yo haha.

        Also I just want to add, Jackman looked amazing in this film, he was SO ripped! I am a man and I will gladly admire his body. He’s one of my man crushes (I feel no shame in saying that).

        As for where I’d like to see Wolverine in the next film, possibly take him on another adventure to different location in the world and still have Yukio along for the ride because her and Logan make a good pairing.

      • There is definatley no shame in having a man crush on Jackman-the man is amazing. I personally have a girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence and I have no shame in admiting that. That girl can do no wrong in my eyes.

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