Underrated: The Wolverine
This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Wolverine.
A little while ago on Underrated, I took a look at one of the most reviled movies in the X-Men Franchise, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This week I wanted to take a look at the sequel to that movie because, ending aside, I think it’s a pretty good movie – no, really, take that cyborg thing out of the equation, and I’d give the movie a sold 8.5 or so out of 10. Obviously the cyborg drops the rating some, but I still really enjoyed the movie. And yes, I did see the movie recently.
The funny thing about The Wolverine, at least for me, is that I only recently realized that people weren’t quite as fond of it as I was. Whether that’s because I was so desperate for a great Wolverine movie that I overlooked a lot of the flaws when I first saw it, or that I just simply enjoyed it more than the folks who had a bone to pick with the film. Obviously, I watched this after having seen Logan, which was exactly the Wolverine movie that I, and many others, have always wanted. Does The Wolverine still hold up after the sequel, or is it really as average as people have been saying?
I genuinely don’t think it is, so allow me to give you a few reasons why.
- The Opening Sequence
In this case I’m talking about the entire sequence set in the Canadian wilderness. Hugh Jackman pulls off the broken former hero role incredibly well, and much like the prequel I could have happily watched an entire movie centered around a broken Logan on the outskirts of society. Wait.
- It’s a great homage to Wolverine’s first solo series
Look I know that the ending is butchered almost entirely by the mechanized Silver Samurai, but once you get beyond that The Wolverine is a brilliant homage and reinterpretation of the Claremont/Miller series from the 80’s with an updated twist. The hallmarks of the series are there, albeit in a slightly modified form in most cases, as the movie does its level best to pay tribute to that classic four issue miniseries.
- The choreography
With this movie having a softer rating than its sequel, you’d be forgiven for wanting more of the brutality from that movie to show up in The Wolverine, but considering the rating I think the choreography of the fight scenes is done very well – yes, a lot is left to your imagination regarding the results of said action, but this is still a movie about a violent mutant and you do get a sense of that… even if it is done in a PG13 way.
- The story
Despite struggling at the final hurdle, the movie’s plot is actually better than a lot of popcorn action flicks. It’s certainly no Logan but it’s a better overall product than both of its immediate prequels.
Yes, the movie has its problems, especially with how it fits (or used to fit depending on who you’re talking to) into the X-Men movie franchise, and how it treats certain characters, but when you look at it as a standalone movie that follows one character after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand… it’s actually pretty good; like I said, I’ve always enjoyed this movie, and that’s why it’s the subject of this week’s Underrated. Plus, without this movie then we’d never have had James Mangold back for the sequel