The Wolverine: a review

wolverine

I saw The Wolverine in 3D last evening with my husband and eldest daughter. If I could have seen it in 2D, I would have; such is life. This is a solid comic book movie that I can recommend to fans of the genre or Hugh Jackman.

Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan/Wolverine. This story takes place after the events of X-men: The Last Stand (2006). We find him living alone in the woods, still haunted by the loss of his beloved X-men girlfriend, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) when he is tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) an operative of Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi). Through flash backs we learn that since an encounter during WW II, Yashida owes his life to Logan. Facing death many years later, Yashida has tracked Logan down in order to bring him to Japan and repay him. Before you know it, Logan is on the run protecting Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto). Logan is poisoned/infected by a strange mutant, Viper (Svetlana Khodgenkova) and loses his mutant ability, thus can no longer heal instantly. While he fights to find a cure, he also tries to figure out how Mariko fits into the broader nefarious scheme of ninjas and bad people. It is a solid stand alone story for the X-men franchise.

The plot is the weakest link in this film. It is easy to anticipate major events and the twist at the end is clumsy and obvious within the first act. The acting is solid. Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine; not bad for a song and dance man. He worked hard to get into tip top shape and he spends much of the time shirtless (AWESOME). There is some solid character development, more than I expected to see in a superhero film. However, the villains are no dimensional. I especially enjoyed watching Wolverine respond to his newfound vulnerability. Rila Fukushima is a great action hero who is more than a side kick. I love it when the women are not relegated to the sidelines as simply damsels in distress and Tao Okamoto gets to kick but as well. The dialogue is okay, Logan has a few terse zingers, but remains his broody taciturn self. There are far too many chase scenes, and many of the fights are a blurry bore as we see the combatants far too close up with frenetic scene editing; oh my poor my tired 3D polarized eyes. Or we watch our heroes battle a robot which unbelievably tired. However, there is an exceptional fight atop a train that arguably makes up for the aforementioned lacklustre scenes. There is not as much urban destruction as I expected and I found the decimation of paper walled Japanese buildings far more entertaining than the endless CGI skyscrapers that have been crumbling down  in other recent films.

I liked this film, as did my husband and eldest daughter. My youngest daughter was in the theatre across the hall with her best friends watching the latest instalment of the Percy Jackson franchise. It was the right move for her. The Wolverine is good, not great but not a bad way to spend some time if you are a fan of super hero films, Hugh Jackman, Japanese architecture or ninjas.

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