Movie Review: The Wolverine
Let’s get something out in the open right now. I’m a huge comic book nerd and loved all the X-Men comics and spinoffs, especially Wolverine. That being said my least favorite storyline from the Wolverine comics was the Silver Samurai, which is the source material for James Mangold’s The Wolverine. I’ve never been a fan of martial arts so Wolverine fighting ninjas in Japan never really excited me. I may be a little biased towards this new X-Men spinoff, but trust me when I say, there’s plenty of other problems with The Wolverine besides the source material.
The Wolverine begins after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. There’s a big problem right off the bat with the decision to connect a story from Brett Ratner’s below average third installment in the franchise. Can we all just pretend that third X-Men film didn’t happen. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is living as a hermit in Canada, but is tracked down by an old friend who wants him back in Japan. Logan reluctantly decides to visit the land of the rising sun and of course the claws come out. Logan must battle the forces conspiring against him, as well as his own immortality.
The Wolverine tries to take the dark and gritty approach, but unfortunately is very slow at times. The action in sparse and when it does pick up, it’s not the same Logan we saw take out a SWAT team in X2. The big bullet train sequence In The Wolverine we have seen before in Spiderman 2 and really is downright goofy. I don’t like to use the word unrealistic describing a super hero movie, but some of the scenes are unbelievably dumb. The audience is subjected to long stints of sad Wolverine, only to be rewarded with mediocre action.
The Wolverine suffers from two major problems in my opinion. First is the lack of a quality villain. Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) as one of the main villains is not the route to take for a project like this. The Viper is non-threatening, underdeveloped and corny. I could think of a slew of X-Men B-list villains that would have been ten times better than Viper. I also hate to play the spoiler for all you Silver Samurai fans, but the big adamantium samurai maybe has ten minutes of screen time. The second big problem is the lack of X-Men buddies involved. Outside of the visions Logan gets of Jean Grey, Logan has no other allies to banter with. One of the great parts of the X-Men was Logan’s relationships with his fellow mutants. Wolverine has zero interaction with any other X-Men in The Wolverine, except for one big monster tease. If Fox decides to make another solo film with Wolverine, my advice is to incorporate something new like Alpha Flight.
For the most part The Wolverine is a mediocre film and ranks low on the franchise list with X-Men: The Last Stand. But is does have a major scene at the very end of the film that saved the experience from being a total loss. All I will say is it leads directly into the next X-Men project. At the end of The Wolverine, no one should think Wolverine will only have a cameo in X-Men: Days of Future Past. As much as I was disappointed with The Wolverine, I did leave the theater crazy excited for what’s next in the X-Men film universe. Overall, I give The Wolverine 2 out of 4 potatoes.
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