Josh and Violet give their male vs. female perspective reviews of The Wolverine, directed by James Mangold, and starring Hugh Jackman! How did they each rate the movie? Read on to find out!
Hugh Jackman reprises his role for the sixth time as Wolverine in the newest Marvel universe based film aptly named The Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for over a decade, in 4 X-Men movies and 1 other (much maligned) Wolverine-centric movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I am not as much of a hater on X-Men Origins, but it certainly did not do justice to one of the most favored characters of the Marvel universe. Did the second Wolverine movie fair any better? According to Rotten Tomatoes, it is fairly quite a bit better, with the first movie being at 38% and The Wolverine sitting at 68%.
This time round, the storyline is a lot better, although still a little convoluted. The Wolverine begins towards the end of World War II in Japan in a Japanese military base outside of Nagasaki. As luck would have it, Wolverine is a POW in the camp. As the bomb is dropped, soldiers free the POWs including Wolverine. Several soldiers commit Seppuku, but Wolverine manages to save one, revealing his power of regeneration in the process, as he is scorched alive protecting the Japanese soldier.
In the “present”, Wolverine has returned to being a loner, until a Japanese girl named Yukio invites him to say goodbye to his old Japanese friend. However, this visit turns into more than Logan bargained for, as he finds himself with his healing powers severely diminished, while trying to protect his old friend’s granddaughter from the Yakuza—the Japanese mafia.
This film is full of intense action scenes that cut away in true PG-13 fashion. The bullet train scene briefly shown in the trailer is a lot more intense than it looks. The movie is sure to explain how intense it will be when Wolverine asks Mariko how fast the train can go—which is 300 mph.
In most of Wolverine’s actions scenes, they are actually intense, because knowing that Wolverine’s healing power is hindered, the audience actually cares about how many times Wolverine is shot, stabbed, or otherwise injured.
As usual, Hugh Jackman is The Wolverine. I can’t imagine anyone else doing the role as well as he does. He was the only saving grace of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and certainly made this film a lot better than it could have been. It is interesting to see actors “become” their Superhero they have become known for—Tony Stark is Iron Man, Henry Cavill is Superman now, and even Andrew Garfield fits Spider-Man really well. Hugh Jackman certainly fits that list.
There are a few problems with the film that did bother me though. I really did not enjoy Viper, played by Svetlana Khodchenkova in this film. The weird acid spitting and snakeskin adaptation of this character did not fit into the film for me. With most of the characters grounded more in reality, I felt her character seemed out of place. I also wasn’t too fond of Khodchenkova’s acting performance. The plot was a little bloated I thought as well, but still enjoyable.
There is a bit of a spoiler head—you’ve been warned! The major plot point of the film—Yashida stealing Logan’s healing powers for himself—seemed a little wonky with Wolverine’s lore. First of all, Wolverine is not immortal (Ok, I suppose we can accept that Yashida did not know he wasn’t immortal), and stealing his healing power would not de-age him, it would merely repair his body at the age it is at currently. Comic nerds know that Wolverine does age! There is a comic series called “Old Man Logan”, even! He just happens to age a lot slower than normal. There were some other “liberties” taken by the movie that drift pretty far from the comic book canon, but for the most part I can forgive and appreciate the changes.
One final problem I had with the movie was the relatively poor fighting skills we see Wolverine display, particularly when he fights Yashida after regaining his healing powers. He essentially is disemboweled and gutted several times during the fight, to which I would have thought Wolverine could have dispatched more simply. Overall though, these “problems” probably won’t affect the average movie-goer.
For the movie as a whole, I was very happy to see Wolverine get the movie he deserves, being much better than its predecessor. This movie certain does give me hope for a third Wolverine movie in the future, rather than being stuck with another less-than-mediocre attempt, and praying that they stop trying.
Overall, I would give this movie a 7.75 out of ten. It doesn’t quite reach the level of Iron Man 3 or Star Trek: Into Darkness, but it certainly does tickle all of the right bones for a comic book movie. Also, be sure to stay for the credits, as there is an AMAZING ending stinger leading to the next X-Men movie. I do not think you will be disappointed.
James Mangold steps in to direct The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman in the title role, in this superhero action film that exists in the same universe as the X-Men movies. Mangold has an eclectic resume, having directed “tough guy” films, to psychological thrillers, to more “girly” type dramas, and it shows, as he is able to strike a good balance in The Wolverine, so that men and women alike will be able to enjoy this film.
The Wolverine is not an origin story, however, as Wolverine’s origin story was already covered in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Instead, this film is based on the Samurai Saga of the Wolverine graphic novels. The movie starts out near Nagasaki, Japan in 1945 and captures the terror of a Japanese POW camp as the warning sirens blare, and they realize that an atomic bomb is about to be dropped nearby. The Japanese soldiers let the POW’s go free, including Logan, who was being kept locked in a deep hole, but he decides to stay put. I felt that this scene was done really well, as I can only imagine what it must have felt like knowing what was coming, and at the same time knowing that you wouldn’t be able to outrun your fate. As the Japanese soldiers kneel and one by one honorably kill themselves with their swords, one man hesitates, and Logan is able to save him by throwing the man, Yashida, down into the hole, and shielding him with a metal plate. Meanwhile, Wolverine’s body is burned to a crisp from the blast of the bomb, but quickly heals.
Flash forward to the present. The remainder of the movie takes place after the events that occurred in X-Men 3, in which Wolverine had to kill Jean Gray, the woman he loved. He has since retreated to the Yukon and resumed being a loner, although he is now haunted by his memories of Jean Gray. A Japanese girl named Yukio finds Logan in the middle of a bar fight, and we soon find out that Yukio’s purpose in seeking out Logan is to bring him to Tokyo to see her employer, who is dying. Her employer is Yashida, the man that Logan saved from the atomic bomb all those years ago. At first Logan refuses, but Yukio convinces him.
When Logan gets to Japan, he finds out the real reason that Yashida wanted to see him. We also meet Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko, who Wolverine winds up spending the bulk of the film protecting from the Japanese mob called the Yakuza. Additionally, we are introduced to a female mutant villain named Viper, who is able to greatly hinder Wolverine’s healing ability. As a result, we get to see Wolverine as we have never seen him before, in a much more vulnerable state, unable to heal instantly. In the end, all of the villainous elements come together for a surprise ending that I did not see coming, but in hindsight, I realize I should have been suspicious.
Going into the film, I was a little skeptical, and unsure how I would feel about the Japanese setting, being that the other X-Men movies have had American settings. However, my qualms were quickly assuaged in the opening scene, and I had no problem with the rest of the film that followed. In fact, it was a little refreshing to have the film take place in a foreign setting and see a different culture, especially Logan’s reaction to it (most notably, the love hotel). It was also interesting to see a different type of action from the other X-Men movies, which featured various superhero powers, while this movie focused less on superpowers (especially considering Wolverine’s greatly diminished healing abilities) and more on sword fighting and physical action. In that way, it was a bit of a change from the other X-Men movies, but the existence of mutants is still prevalent, albeit in a more subdued way and a less in-your-face approach. Of course, the only real glaring exception is the placement of Viper in the movie to keep you reminded that this is the X-Men universe.
I also appreciated the fact that there were several strong women featured in the film. There’s Yukio, who you can see from the get go is a great fighter. She kind of annoyed me at first, and it was hard to understand her accent at times, but she quickly grew on me. Mariko, who initially seems to be very delicate, turns out to be strong, smart, and independent. Finally, one of the main villains is a woman, Viper, which is different, since most villains are usually men. I personally didn’t like her character all that much, but it was a nice change from the norm.
All in all, The Wolverine was a surprisingly fun ride, which I happened to enjoy a lot more than I thought I would. However, I must admit that the best part of the entire movie was the scene after the credits. Make sure you stay to watch it!
My rating: 7.5