The Wolverine is the second X-Men film in a row that tries to freshen the superhero genre with something different while still giving the audiences what is expected, but unlike First Class, The Wolverine is not as successful. For the first 2/3’s of the movie we get a James Bond-esque type film with Wolverine traveling to Japan, tangling with many foes and saving the damsel in distress This Wolverine movie was great and exactly what was needed to freshen up his character. Unfortunately, the third act falls into the trap of the “bigger is better” thought for the genre and loses much of its momentum.
Logan (Hugh Jackman) has lived a very long life so the idea of an action that he did long ago coming back to influence his present is something interesting and is done well. Going to Japan to meet with Yashida, a man he saved during the bombings that ended WWII, so he can grant Logan his last wish is a perfect jumping off point. It gets Wolverine to a foreign land and out of his comfort zone and lets us be introduced to many new friends and foes and thankfully none of them were in The Black Eyed Peas. It also gave fans of the character what they have wanted to see for years, Wolvie vs ninjas.
I give credit to director James Mangold because he brought the film series from the creatively bankrupt X-Men Origins: Wolverine and decided to focus on the character of Logan. In this film he is remorseful for his past deeds, angry, depressed, heroic and everything that the character should have been years ago instead of a dude with cool claws. To actually allow these character moments the filmmakers didn’t (GASP!) have an action scene every five minutes and instead made a much quieter superhero film.
Another great choice for this movie was cast mostly unknown actors in supporting roles. Other than Jackman and the few scenes Famke Janssen popped up the rest of the cast are unheard of in America and this let them be the characters instead famous person in role X. This was another thing that was needed after Origins filled the movie with known people until it was overstuffed. The best supporting role in the film was Rila Fukushima as Yukio. I hope that she shows up in the overall X-Universe someday because she was an interesting character played by a charismatic actress.
While there was many things good with the film,the point that the film really suffered at was the lack of a strong villain. There were 3 or 4 guys giving Wolverine problems but none of them really stood out and none seemed to pose a serious threat to our main man. Without the threatening force, the climax of the movie falters and the movie resorts to Wolverine fighting a giant robot with a flaming sword. Otherwise known as an ending that would be in a much lesser film. The movie set up a different kind of superhero film where character meant more than spectacle and then didn’t have the nerve to see it through to the end. Instead we have robots, ninjas, weird mutants and fury and sound that result in nothing memorable.
The other major flaw in the film was the lack of chemistry between Wolvie and love interest. The two never seemed to have much of a spark and Wolverine seemed to be saving her because that is what superheroes do. When they do end up in bed together it feels more like they are passing time because the cable is out more than some great love.
I have given the positives and negatives so where does this movie actually end up on our scales. I think that:
·Jackman has never been better as Wolverine
·Interesting story and setting
·Characters over action
·Fun train sequence
Outweighs the negatives that include:
·Lack of interesting villains
·No spark for the love story
·Out of place third act
I felt that the creatives forces behind this movie “got it” and did their best to make a different type of X-Men film. I feel they mostly succeeded but ran out of steam in the last act. I would love to see everyone come back and try again because I felt they were right there this time. The Wolverine wasn’t the perfect movie but was still worth 2 hours of any fans time.