When I went into the theater to watch The Wolverine I wasn’t sure of what to expect. Obviously I wanted the movie to be good but considering X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a bust and the last time I was truly impressed with the X-Men film franchise was a decade ago I wasn’t holding my breath. However, once the movie ended I felt immense joy as my favorite comic book movie franchise felt like it was back on track.
The movie starts things off with Wolverine living as a Grizzly Adams with claws somewhere off in Canada suffering from constant nightmares from murdering Jean at the end of X3. It was refreshing to see the film give some depth to Wolverine and to let me know I wasn’t the only one haunted by the nightmare that is X-Men 3. He is also plagued by flashbacks from World War 2 where he saved a young soldiers life right before the bombing of Hiroshima. After getting a glimpse of the turmoil inside his mind Logan ventures into town, gets into a bar scuffle, and ends up following a mysterious woman named Yukio to Japan to bid farewell to the man he saved so long ago. Overall a quick set up for the film without really rushing anything. There on out we see Wolverine on an action packed adventure in Japan without his healing factor for most of the film but inevitably saves the day. In order to avoid spoilers I’ll keep the summary at that and focus more on what I did and didn’t enjoy about the movie.
Some of the action sequences felt a bit too fast at points and rather hard to keep watch of what was going on, in particular the latter half of the bullet train sequence. Though, I will admit that every superhero movie as of late has had this problem in at least one of their fight sequences. So because this is a problem that is rather common these days I don’t hold it against the film too much. Another qualm I had with the film is that I feel we didn’t see enough of the Silver Samurai in action. For someone who is supposed to be one of the more prominent figures in Wolverine’s rogue’s gallery he should have had a bit more of a presence in the film. Though I will praise the movie’s take on the iconic character.
In spite of these few problems the movie doesn’t suffer much. The move to Japan was an excellent choice as it gives the franchise a breath of fresh air through a new location. The film also kept the cast of characters small, which is appreciated considering the next installment in the franchise is going to have more mutants than you can shake a stick at. Taking away Logan’s healing factor was also a good move in my opinion. Granted it’s a bit of a cliché move these days but when done right, as it was in the film, it works really well as a plot device. Perhaps what I enjoyed most was the pacing of the film. Rather than bombard us with countless fight scenes they were peppered throughout the film giving the characters a chance to actually develop worthwhile relationships with each other and making sure the audience doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Granted the movie is an action flick but that doesn’t mean it should be a vapid, shallow gun show like most films in the genre which is appreciated by this X-Fan.
Overall, I would say this is a movie you have to see in theaters, and definitely own on DVD or Blue Ray. Now if the Franchise can keep up the vigor that The Wolverine has brought to table we can expect to be blown away by Days of Future Past next year.