The Wolverine: The movie fans have always wanted
By Sean Molloy
Finally, the Wolverine movie we fans have always wanted. Casting Hugh Jackman as Wolverine will always be my favorite piece of casting, more so than Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and far more than Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne. Audiences know that Jackman loves playing this character, yet in the past, the character rarely gets the role he deserves as the many X-Men take the stage. But not this time, this is a Wolverine movie and damn it’s good.
The director James Mangold and his writing did something brilliant with writing and adapting the script, they just shed all of the extra fat. There are other mutants in The Wolverine but the most we see at any one time is three, and one of those doesn’t even count. The Wolverine is an adaptation of one of the best comic stories ever, a kind-of sequel to the X-Men trilogy and a separate movie all wrapped in one package.
We meet The Wolverine in the Alaskan wilderness still being haunted from killing Jean Grey at the end of X-Men 3. He’s a tortured creature, swearing off from hurting anyone else as long as he lives, an oath he truly takes to heart. However enter Yukio, a representative of a dying man whose life Logan saved so many years ago. He wants to give the gift of mortality to the man who can’t die. Enter the best dynamic of the film. If you’ve seen any of the trailers you know that Wolverine gets weakened and ends up not being able to heal himself. This one simple dynamic gives new life to the character. The audience really does feel every time Wolverine takes a bullet or a sword slash. Some blurred motion/slo-mo effects accentuate the pain even more. The film takes the premise and just rolls with it, making Wolverine a very human character being out of place in Japan and experiencing that culture.
Speaking of culture, the film gives the Japanese samurai/ninja genre such respect. From shadowed figures moving through the darkness to mentioning the country’s rich history one could say that Japan and its culture is a separate character all on its own.
Another thing I truly appreciated about The Wolverine is that its only concerned about telling a story. Most Marvel movies are worried about how they fit into a franchise or how they can make a sequel, not this movie. It gives you a straightforward plot, doesn’t bother with an origin story, and gives you the idea that Jackman could keep playing this character forever. Much like James Bond. Separated stories to be told that can take place at any point in Logan’s life.
The Wolverine’s action sequences are also top notch. Everyone mentions the bullet-train fight, which does deserve its own mention. Yet to my taste, the slowing down one on one fights between a fully clawed Wolverine and characters simply armed with swords are much better paced and they have their own dramatic aura about them.
Not all is perfect with The Wolverine though, the movie stumbles in its final sequence as the “villains” of the movie are exposed as being very one note and not interesting. Viper is used as a….well as a sexy woman who sheds skin and makes poison. She doesn’t drive the story anywhere, she just kind of….is. Also the buildup to the Silver Samurai fight? A waste. The end battle could have been rewritten in multiple ways and be just as effective.
The Wolverine ends up being one of the best, if not THE best X-Men movie to date. It creates a better portrayal of a character we’ve known for years while breathing new life into him by changing his scenery and mindset going into battle. The film is one of the best ways to spend time at the movie theater this summer, minus the lame villains.
P.S. do NOT leave the theater when the credits roll, you’ll miss out on something truly special.