Review: The Wolverine
Eternity can be a curse… a man can run out of things to live for…
I have always been a fan of Wolverine, well to put that more accurately, I’ve also been a fan of the people surrounding Wolverine so with the adamantium clawed mutant heading to Japan, I was excited to see how the creators would handle his history and relationships. The Wolverine follows directly after the events of the third X-Men movie, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) overcome by her powers began to tear the fabric of reality apart and it was up to the man who loved her to end her destructive path, Wolverine. With the Xavier Institute in turmoil after the loss of Jean, Cyclops and Professor Xavier, Wolverine is unable to cope and abandons his old life, seeking solitude in the Yukon mountains until his life and past catches up to him once more.
An old friend, Yashida, a man Logan saved during World War II now lies on his death bed and has summoned his rescuer to Japan so that he may say farewell and offer his gratitude one last time. Tracked down by a mutant known as Yukio, Wolverine heads to Tokyo only to realise that he has found himself in the middle of a family in turmoil and a kidnapping of Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko. Unable to let go of his broken heart and guilt, Wolverine is tormented by his memories of Jean, his spirit is worn out and his drive to fight and survive are pushed to their limits as he finds hope in Mariko and maybe find a way to end his suffering!
There you have it, that’s the bones of the movie, fleshed out with some intense fight scenes and action, the film is overall enjoyable but not for a second is it perfect! The film is fast paced, Canada to Tokyo to Nagasaki back to Tokyo then some rural Japanese village with the timeline of the movie occurring across no more than five days and as a result character development for the new cast is very rushed! We are all aware at this stage at the man Logan is, the never ending battle between man and monster he fights within himself and while the tormented and guilt riddled Wolverine we meet in this movie is certainly interesting, it’s just not enough to hide the fact that we barely know anything about the rest. Mariko’s character flip flops, she is a highly skilled knife thrower willing to stand up to her father one minute then a shrinking violet the next, Yukio is determined to prove herself then completely crushed by her disturbing (but kind of really cool) mutant ability to see the deaths of others.
In terms of characters though, the worst offender goes to Viper or Doctor Green, a bio-chemist charged with prolonging the life of her employer Yashida but gifted with the mutant ability of toxin immunity and creating/spewing her own poisons, she is insufferable to watch bringing nothing to the film and acting merely as a bridge (a boring one!) between the middle and end of the movie.
Focusing purely on performances, Jackman feels and looks very comfortable in his role once more and there is a sense that he is enjoying the chance to portray Wolverine once more, Rila Fukushima tackles the role of Rukio, not easy in a movie where the characters flip flop from extremes but her performance is strong and she works well on screen with Jackman. On a side note it’s a treat to see Famke Janssen reprises her role as Jean Grey, a ghost and memory that lingers only to torment Wolverine and remind him of the woman he lost at the end of his own claws.
There is no shortage of action in the movie with plenty of fight scenes, chases and ass kicking to sate even the most diehard of action movie fans! At times though and in particular the chase scenes after the funeral the camera work is a little too frantic and all over the place making it all seem like it was fumbled the whole way through and even dizzying. In a world where mutants are cropping up everywhere Japan seems to be lacking with only three featured and of those only one is Japanese! With the Yakuza featuring in the movie we figured that even the Japanese mob could have found themselves a few not so nice mutants to join them for a price but instead we’re left with the girl who sees peoples deaths, the healing brute and… the weird…snake…lady… it’s a shame but it doesn’t do too much harm.
As I said above I’ve always been a fan of the people in Wolverine’s life and while the movies have been playing with this quite a bit, the relationship or lack thereof between Wolverine and Jean is handled rather well in the movie. Mariko and Rukio also bring something new to his life and the latter also offers her services a bodyguard perhaps mirroring the role of Jubilation Lee as sidekick to the cantankerous and blue spandex wearing comic/cartoon version.
The Wolverine is a good movie, it’s an entertaining one for those who are just looking for something to watch and offers the odd nudge and wink to comic fans and while it’s hardly going to win a dozen awards it knows it doesn’t have to. If you are in want of a good and sound film to watch then you won’t go wrong here and the end credits offer a ridiculously head wrecking (and truly awesome) look at the events yet to come in the next X-Men movie.
Rating 7 / 10
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!