Movie Review: The Wolverine
To know where I’m coming from I thought the first Wolverine movie was atrocious. It was bad, really bad. Is in, whomever thought it was acceptable should have been fired bad. So, going into its follow-up, The Wolverine, the movie already had something going for it, it couldn’t be worse than the first one, and it’s not. But, that doesn’t mean it’s great either.
The plot is very simple, sort of, Wolverine is called to Japan to say good-bye to a friend whom he saved during the bombing on Nagasaki in World War II. This friend is dying and offers Wolverine a final gift for saving his life. He says he can transfer Wolverine’s healing factor to himself and thus grant Wolverine his wish to die. You see, Wolvie is having issues sleeping, what with all the killing (*cough* Jean Grey *cough*) and all. He also falls for Mariko, the grand-daughter of his pal that’s dying Yashida. Then all kinds of fighting happens and a rather convoluted second half occurs (which is the not so simple plot). The movie ends, I was disappointed, but then the mid-credit scene happens and I get excited again.
The movie isn’t a complete failure, it gets a lot right. It also gets a lot wrong.
Warning there be spoilers ahead….
I liked the tone of the movie the most. For most of it, it evoked a feel of a western set in Japan. The way scenes were set up, Wolverine’s attitude, the obstacles he faces and finally the showdown in the town, all of these things say Western to me. And that is a tone that fits the character quite well.
There’s also some solid sequences. The bullet train fight scene comes to mind as a highlight of the film with some cool action clearly green screened (we’re talking 90s green screen). The end fight scene however was a bit blah with one shocking moment, but the big reveal being a yawn inducing letdown.
There’s also numerous references to Wolverine’s bone claws. That becomes an important point in the movie and I liked the fact it was included.
I generally liked the relationship between Logan and Mariko as well. Wolverine is conflicted by the fact everyone he knows dies, but the sparks between the two are a slow build that’s somewhat believable. Overall, that’s the part that stays pretty faithful to the comics that have come before. He’s also tortured by what he’s done, often waking up at night and popping his claws.
What I disliked was the use of the Silver Samurai, Viper, Yukio and Harada. Lets break down each.
Viper is helping Yashida fight off death. She has some sorts of abilities, but how Yashida found her, and what’s in it for her is never made clear. Overall, her character really isn’t needed at all and the movie probably would have been better without her.
Harada is a character from the comics, and here he’s just a solid ninja who loves Mariko. It’s a waste and you might as well call him, generic ninja #1, and the role would have been fine.
The Silver Samurai is ok for the most part, but the reveal at the end is predictable.
Yukio takes the sidekick role. It’s not needed at all and if anything is as pointless as Gambit in the first movie.
The plot as well is boring and predictable. You know exactly what will be revealed and how things will wind up, except for a bit at the end during the fight scene. That caught me off-guard and I don’t want to spoil that part, because it makes the ending somewhat enjoyable.
Overall, the movie is predictable, but has some cool moments, especially the mid-credit sequence which I think was the best part of the movie and sets up the next X-Men film. It’s better than the first film, but that’s not saying much, but it shows the franchise has a long way to go before it comes close to Marvel’s other offerings.
Direction: 6.75 Acting: 7 Plot: 6.5 Overall: 6.75