Hugh Jackman returns as Wolverine, for the sixth time. His last movie was not particularly good, and left a bad taste in the mouth of fans. This movie, based in part of the classic Claremont/Miller arc, sees Logan in Japan, fighting samurai, yakuza, and ninjas. But can it erase Origins from our mind?
Jackman IS Wolverine, only tall.
Plenty of action, including samurai, ninjas, yakuza, and a bullet train.
The Japan setting is cool.
Cool end credits scene…
The Viper is pretty bad, in writing and performance.
The climax is a bit limp, as the story unravels somewhat
Wolverine/Logan- Hugh Jackman
Mariko- Tao Okamoto
Yukio- Rila Fukushima
Shingen- Hiroyuki Sanada
Viper- Svetlana Khodchenkova
Jean Grey- Famke Janssen
As The Bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Wolverine saves the life of Yashida. Now, almost 70 years later, mega-rich Yashida summons Wolverine to Japan, and attempts to steal his immortality. What follows is ninjas, mutants, samurai, and Wolverine’s best screen adventure in years.
FORGET ABOUT X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
First things first, this is definitely better than the disappointment that is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which isn’t that hard. This time around we have a solid story, loosely based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s classic 1982 limited series, some good performances, good action, and a healthy respect for the character of Wolverine. That said, this isn’t a perfect movie, but it is good fun.
Hugh Jackman returns to the role that made him a household name, and to a character he clearly enjoys. Between his coming to terms with the death of Jean Grey (resulting in a pleasant amount of Famke Janssen), and being stripped of his immortality, as seen in the trailer so it’s not a spoiler, Jackman has more to do with the character, resulting in the best Wolverine since X2. He is also ridiculously buff.
He is ably supported by Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima, as these two Japanese actresses are quite impressive, and effectively carry a significant part of the movie. Particularly Fukushima, who also has some very cool action scenes. Unfortunately Svetlana Khodchenkova, as Viper, is pretty bad, standing out in a film full of good performances. But the character isn’t particularly well written, so it’s not just her bad performance to blame for the poor character.
The writing, by Christopher McQuarrie, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank, is good for the most part. It isn’t exactly an adaptation of the classic Claremont/Miller arc, but it definitely draws strong inspiration from it. Action scenes and story elements are clearly there, but there is a lot of new too. The story does tick along nicely, with action littered throughout, but the ending is a little flat, and the movie could stand to be a little shorter. It is funny in places too, but this wanes in the second half.
JAPAN OFFERS COOL ACTION, AND VISUALS
The Japan setting makes a for nice change, giving it a different look to previous X-Men movies, ranging from the neon cityscape, to old fashioned Japanese houses, gardens, and snow covered villages. It gives the series a breath of fresh air, after the disappointing Origins movie. James Mangold has made an interesting looking movie, with some shots straight from a comic panel.
There is a good bit of action in the movie, which is what you want from a Wolverine movie. The funeral fight is very cool, and that kicks off a fun sequence of sequences, from the fight, to a foot chase, winding with a clever and inventive bullet train sequence. There’s also a good few ninjas kicking ass, and everybody knows ninjas are cool. As are samurai swords, a lot of which are used here, and rather wonderfully too.
The last act is where things go kinda wrong, particularly the climax, which is a bit flat. The action is good, but while Silver Samurai looks cool, it is rather pointless. A version of the character is in the comic, and that seems to be the only reason it is crow-barred in here. Their fight is kinda cool, but it is ultimately the hero beating up a CGI baddie. That said, it isn’t bad enough to ruin the movie. Plus, there’s a mid-end-credits scene that will have you leaving the cinema happy, and looking forward to Wolverine’s next outing, in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
BOTTOM LINE: WOLVERINE’S BEST OUTING SINCE X2
So…The Wolverine is a good action movie, with a pretty good story to it. Jackman is cool as ever, and the Japanese setting makes for some nice visuals and tone. However, the villainess is quite crap, the last act becomes a little formulaic, and the final fight isn’t very engaging. But it is still a fun two hours of Wolvie action.