Comic fans rejoice, Marvel has brought out another super hero movie to tickle our fancies this summer. The hero of choice this week is Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), in the ever-creative title The Wolverine. Our short-tempered friend with lots of issues has taken on the task of not only fighting the Japanese warriors, but also redeeming the series of the previous flops in the series. Thus, the question comes up can the lone warrior meet the tasks, or have we gotten another hastily put together film, that leaves us asking why? Read on to find out.
I’m sure you’ve seen the trailer, but in case you haven’t the plot takes place after the Last Stand. Logan has isolated himself from the rest of the X-men squad to face his ghosts, until a man he saved during the war offers him the chance to lose his curse of immortality. With his powers starting to fail, Logan must uncover the source of his new weakness while protecting the innocent who have been caught in the mess. What on Earth could happen?
Well I won’t reveal the plot elements, but The Wolverine has returned to the plots we loved before the Final Stand occurred. We all know Logan’s past, so I’m sure many are sick of hearing about it. Luckily, this movie decides to push away from treading down his story, and instead focuses on developing Logan now that the love of his life, again, has passed away. Wolverine has to move away from the safety of the X-men and forge new relationships that provide a new twist on his emotions. New fans of the series might be lost, but they shed some light on a few pasts without retelling the story for the seventh time. While Wolverine gets some more development, can’t say the story is the most original or surprising, at least for me. I predicted most of the twists, and wasn’t surprised by the ending, though felt it was nicely closed.
Of course a Marvel story can’t really be told without some action mixed in can it? The answer is no, and the trailers promised plenty of claw slashing, death defying stunts in a two hour timespan. Did it deliver? The answer is yes, as The Wolverine’s fight scenes were choreographed to deliver fast pace action that lasted more than thirty seconds. Instead of over-emphasized punches and dramatic finish moves, this film chose to link some marshal arts vs. street brawl action that felt like a real fight. Wolverine’s claws blocked, impaled, and countered many attempted strikes, and did it all in real time as opposed to slow as hell Spartan finishers. Throw in some chase scenes, and a bullet train arena and you get some diverse fighting fun that the series has been lacking. Unfortunately, the rush hits an impediment, eventually diluting to some promising epic battles that disappointingly fell short for me. The final fight started to get some gusto back, but it didn’t get quite as fast as the earlier fights. Another flaw was that some of the camera work needed improvement. Again I found the camera crew’s inability to keep the camera steady during fighting annoying. I know it’s fast, but the reason you practice and shoot multiple takes is to find the best way to capture the scene. Yet they still fall short.
Logan doesn’t fight this battle alone though. While most of the mutants we know are living their own lives, we have a few that have worked their way into Tokyo. Yukio (Rila Fukushima) the clairvoyant samurai not only has moves, but provides some comedic relief and support to Logan’s journey. Fukushima played the tomboy, honorable bodyguard role well and her accent gave her comedic lines an extra humorous edge. Tao Okamoto took a more serious role, playing the key cornerstone of the movie that drives Logan’s changes. Okamoto did a great job, her beauty very eye appealing and her delivery containing the required emotion with only a few instances of overacting. As for Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), the mutant was better than some of the poor excuses we’ve seen recently, but not much. Her design was a bit elaborate and noncreative, her obsession with green being a bit cheesy for this reviewer. However, the special effects for her powers was impressive, and her deceptive use of her powers added some deadliness to the mix, though she still wasn’t that impressive.
As the title suggests though, Jackman got most of the camera time and he pulled it off great, as he mostly does. Jackman stepped right back into the temperamental X-man role, grabbing hold of the fury and pissed off edge and taking it by the horns. Fans who love his could care less attitude, will enjoy it once again as Logan delivers classic lines that while filled with ire and angst, are timed to make you laugh. Audience members who find the Australian attractive are going to get their fill of tight t-shirts, muscle built arms, and his smolder. Jackman still growls and screams the same, but luckily we don’t get too much of the prolonged screaming to the sky.
Overall I enjoyed the Wolverine, and feel it was worth a trip to the theater. I don’t see the point of seeing it in 3-D, so save your money and stick with the 2-D version. The story is simple and the villains are a bit lame, but the character development and new relationships were enjoyable and nice to see the story continuing on. Action wise, it’s pretty good, but the poor camera choices, and slower pace ending might disappoint you a little. Oh well, the scene halfway through the credits makes up for some of the flaws and promises to return to the roots of this series and hopefully an even better movie. My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0