The Wolverine Review

Posted: September 2, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

movies_the-wolverine-posterWritten by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

Comic book movies have dominated 2013 so far. Iron Man 3 was the first Post-Avengers film for Marvel and with that done they’ll eventually start working on the hype machine for Thor: The Dark World. Man of Steel also come with a huge amount of buzz and hit with a bang. In comparison to all this, The Wolverine has come out in a much more modest way. Some may think this has to do with following the awfulness that is X-Men Origins: Wolverine but I think it speaks more to the fact that this movie doesn’t fit with the series direction. X-Men: First Class turned the series back around and launched it on a trajectory toward the upcoming Days of Future Past. The Wolverine, meanwhile, is just sort of sitting here. Still, if it tells a good story that’s all that matters, and with a talented director like James Mangold behind the camera, it was reasonable to expect a solid comic book film.

The film opens after the events of X-Men 3, and Logan (Hugh Jackman) has left the X-Men. He walks the earth (like Caine in Kung-Fu) and lives in the wilderness. One night, Logan is contacted by a young assassin named Yukio (Rila Fukushima). Yukio works for an elderly business man who Wolverine saved back in World War II. The man is facing death, and wishes to thank Wolverine, and also reveals he can use a machine to transfer his healing powers, giving Logan the ability to die and end his suffering. But quickly upon arriving in Japan, Logan finds himself trapped in a wave of conspiracy and soon is fighting assassins and ninjas.

With The Wolverine, the filmmakers are clearly trying to tell an emotional story and to advance Wolverine’s character. I admire the ambition, but I’m not sure if the results are up to snuff. Instead of diving into Logan’s character and arc, the movie is more content to tread water. Themes of morality, guilt, and redemption are all touched upon, but they aren’t handled with much insight or skill. I still enjoyed their inclusion, but I can’t help but think of the missed potential. It doesn’t help that the more low-key first two acts eventually lead to a big dumb climax complete with a giant robot and a bunch of fights in a sterile environment. All that said, the story isn’t bad, it’s fine, but it never really excelled.

This is also true of the action scenes. Most of them are all good, but only two really excel. There is a highly creative scene with Wolverine and some thugs hanging off a bullet train which was a ton of fun. There’s also a badass moment where Wolverine corners a lone samurai. The rest of the action is okay, but pales in comparison to similar scenes like the attack on Xavier’s mansion from X2. And as mentioned earlier, the film ends on some very dumb and uninspired action scenes at the film’s end.

Acting and characters aren’t exceptionally strong. Hugh Jackman is awesome as ever, but that’s to be expected. I did like Rila Fukushima as an assassin and partner to Logan, but almost every other character is really boring. The villain (played by Svetlana Khodchenkova) is also very under-developed, boring, and kind of a Poison Ivy rip off.

The film does have its pros; Jackman was born to play this part, the movie is never boring, there are two great action scenes, and the post-credit’s tease is the best I’ve seen in years. But overall, the movie so seldom excels and there really is little reason for this film to exist. This isn’t a misfire on the levels of X-Men: The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but it’s also something of a speed bump on the road to X-Men: Days of Future Past.

C

Comments
  1. ianthecool says:

    Its a fair review.I liked it more than you did, but I still agree with most of your points. I especially agree with that Viper woman, a Poison Ivy rip-off is a good description. I think maybe I was okay with the lesser action scenes so long as I had a couple really good ones as well.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Nice review Dan. Had a nice time with this one. Not just because the action was exciting, but because the story actually had a heart to it surprisingly.

  3. I enjoyed this film very much. Seems I liked the action scenes better than you, including the finale.

  4. moviebuff801 says:

    I definitely liked it more than you did, but two points we DO agree on are the film’s Third Act and weak villain.

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