Evil Movie Reviews: The Wolverine
Hey True Believers!
I’ve been an X-Men fan for what seems like forever and I remember seeing that first movie with my man C-Mart and literally being amazed with what I saw on the screen (keep in mind, X-Men was the catalyst that defined the superhero movie that both fans and studios have come to love.) In a pre-Avengers and Dark Knight world the X-Men were simply where it was at. At the time they cast a relatively unknown Australian actor as everyone’s favorite Canuck and the jokes started flowing because of the famous Pryde of the X-Men, but I’ll tell you when they introduced Hugh Jackman fighting in a cage I was absolutely convinced that this actor simply was Wolverine! Since that movie we’ve had the good (X2,) the bad (X-Men Origins: Wolverine,) and the ugly (X-Men The Last Stand) 😦 Since then, Fox redeemed itself and gave us a pretty kickass movie in X-Men First Class (with an awesome Wolverine cameo) and is following it up with Days of Future Past next year. But with all that said, today is Logan’s time to shine with an all new movie out simply titled The Wolverine, set in Japan and documenting his life outside the X-Men that was made so famous in his own series. So does this flick kick ass or make you want to impale yourself with adamantium claws? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out. Be prepared for spoilers, so make sure you watch the movie yourself if you don’t want anything ruined…
I’m going to be kind of vague in this review because you’ll want to see it for yourself if your a fan, but there will be some spoilers, so be forewarned. Essentially this movie is all about bringing Logan back. When we last left our favorite Canuck he was crying his eyes out over killing Jean Grey and that comes back to haunt him throughout the movie. Jackman plays the part of the old soldier who vows to get out of the game pretty well in my opinion too. The film starts off in Japan right before the bombs dropped in Nagasaki, where Logan saves a young soldier and in the process reveals his healing factor to him. It then jumps to the present, where we see an almost hippie Jesus-looking Wolverine living off the land in the wilderness and attempting to detach himself from humanity. Unbeknownst to him he’s being tracked by a young woman named Yukio to bring him to Japan to say goodbye to her employer, the Yashida clan, whose leader happens to be the young man that Logan saved all those years ago and is on his deathbed. Logan agrees to pay the old man a last visit and see the somewhat dysfunctional Yashida clan including his son Lord Shingen and his granddaughter Mariko. Upon meeting the patriarch he is given a proposition to end his suffering by transferring his healing factor to Yashida so he can continue to live and Logan can have the death that he’s always wanted. Logan declines as one would expect and the elder Yashida is upset by this, as one would also expect.
I’m going to skip over plot points here and just tell you that somehow Logan loses his healing factor (which you would’ve figured out by looking at the trailer,) and becomes the protector of Mariko (who everyone in Japan either wants to kidnap or kill!!!) and later her lover. Anyone keen on Wolvies history is familiar with the character and the film does a decent job at capturing their relationship in a fairly short timeframe. Logan without his healing factor is really dangerous because he is still fearless and in a way reminds me of a long-shot prize fighter working his way through incredible odds to keep Mariko safe. In fact, Logan losing his healing factor also plays the film straight, almost like a revenge-style movie for most of it. In fact it kind of reminded me of the Mel Gibson movie Payback in more than one scene because we get to see a Wolverine without spandex who just does what he needs to do to get the job done. Something else that I really liked too was the way that the film played the relationship between Wolverine and Yukio. In the comics, Wolverine has had different sidekicks who seem odd when matched with Logan, but she really adds some fun to the role, while being a badass herself; referring to herself as Logan’s “bodyguard.”
But, (and it’s a big but…) in classic Fox/X-Men movie fashion it gets a little out of control in the third act. We get a Black Ninja Clan that isn’t the Hand, a Silver Samurai that pretty much looks like the Destroyer’s brother, and throughout the movie we see a character known as Viper who really has nothing to do with Madame Hydra or the character from the Serpent Squad at all. Plus, the final scene is a kind of all over the place and ends with a reveal that really doesn’t surprise you. So in the end it’s a decent summer popcorn movie, but people wont flock to see this over and over again.
At the end of the day, this story lets Wolverine mope for just long enough that you feel bad for him and then he gets beat up enough to know that life is worth fighting for and that there’s still a place for his sort of justice in the world. Ultimately I’d say that it leaves the character in a better place than he was in at the end of The Last Stand so the X-Franchise can continue to move forward and use him to his fullest potential.
Make sure that you stay for the scene after the credits too… All I’m gonna say is that alone was worth the $11 movie ticket!
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