Hugh Jackman has admitted that Wolverine’s last solo adventure wasn’t good. Adding that The Wolverine is the Wolverine movie we always wanted. I’m inclined to agree. The question I have, did we need a Wolverine movie? Yes and no. This was the best portrayal of the character, doing some interesting things, but it took a while to get to it.
I had a lot of concerns going into this movie. This was a direct follow up to X-Men: The Last Stand, and the less said about that, the better. Luckily, the only information carried from that is he killed Jean Grey. Famke Janssen reprises her role as Jean, but only in dream sequences. Anything you need to know about who she is, or more importantly, what she meant to him, is smartly explained in short order. My other concern was some of the action scenes highlighted in the trailers. The train sequence in particular looked goofy and fake. While the train scene was as silly as I expected, the movie stands on it’s own, delivering a solitary experience.
After hiding in the mountains for months, Yukio, finds Logan for her dying grandfather, Yashida. For saving his life during the bombing of Nagasaki, the man offers Logan death, by taking away his healing factor, wanting it for himself. Wolverine refuses, and the old man dies. Yashida’s legitimate granddaughter, Mariko, becomes a target for the Yakuza, as he left his empire to her. She is kidnapped during the funeral, and Wolverine saves her.
One of the biggest problems with Wolverine: Origin’s was the over abundance of mutants. Everyone needed to be someone. Here, there were only three mutants; Wolverine, Yukio, and Viper (actually Madame Hydra), though I’m not entirely sure Yukio is a mutant (she’s not in the comics). Viper was an interesting inclusion. Her character seemed a little pointless. Anything she brought could have been accomplished by another character. Other than being “obvious bad guy”, I didn’t see her purpose. That and every time she appeared her costume became more outlandish. I was confused as to why they didn’t call he Madame Hydra, but remembered afterwards that Marvel Films owns Hydra (used in Captain America).
This movie stayed true to Wolverine’s character, accurately depicting his time in Japan. Becoming a samurai, falling in love with Mariko, those were some of his best stories. The nature of the tales, told in more of a Japanese sensibility, makes the first half of the movie seem incredibly slow. I wasn’t bored, but would likely be on subsequent viewings. I forgot this was a comic movie, or about mutants until the final act. There’s the biggest problem with the film, but it depends on what you’re looking for. Want a bombastic comic movie staring everyone’s favorite movie? Not so much here. Interested in a character driven action movie about an enigmatic character that happens to have comic book origins? Yes, very much so. Expecting the latter, you won’t be let down.
Couple of comic book nitpicky things: Harada is the Silver Samurai, so does he live and become the Silver Samurai? Were those ninja’s supposed to be the Hand? I guess Marvel has the rights, probably coupled with Daredevil. Silver Samurai’s sword can cut through anything, except adamantium. Silver Samurai looked a little goofy. Loved what happened to Wolverine during the final battle. Don’t think I’ve seen that before. Loved the tag mid post credits, good luck explaining it to a none nerd. All will be clear next year (X-men: Days of Future Past). Note: Nothing at the end of the credits.
The Wolverine is a little slow, but true to the character, delivering one of his best adventures yet. This is definitely worth the time, but maybe only once.
Thank God they didn’t call him James.