Ok I will say it, out of the 3 comic book movies I have seen this summer, after seeing The Wolverine, it was coherently better put together than Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel. You didn’t have a 2nd act that dragged on forever, hokey villains and mass destruction that had fans question the super-hero. A few months back, fans were skeptical about this movie and rightly so after the disasters of X-Men 3 and Wolverine Origins but this film just might be the best yet of all of the X-Men films.
The movie’s story picks up after X-3 as Logan shuns society and lives in seclusion in the mountains haunted by the death of Jean Grey at his hands. Eventually he is tracked by Shingen Yashida who wants to repay a debt to Logan for saving his life during WWII. Logan travels to Japan only to find that of course, not all is as it seems.
For myself, this movies hits a lot of high notes for me as the story of the movie takes me back to when I first jumped in on the Uncanny X-men comics #173 and then went back to put the whole picture together as to what Logan’s relationship was with Mariko and the Yashida clan. This movie was a great retelling of that storyline and in my opinion well paced. The first action piece at the funeral scene was a bit chaotic and had a little too much ‘shaky cam’ for it but beyond that most of the fight scenes were well choreographed.
As far as the actors are concerned, Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Wolverine and no matter how you feel about him, he still plays the haunted figure very well. He has the task of playing a ronin reluctantly drawn into the world of Japanese underworld politics while dealing with a mysterious loss of his powers and possibly finding a new love interest and at the same time getting over Jean Grey (reprised by Famke Jansson) and it’s fair to say that it’s well balanced throughout the movie. Tao Okamoto was pretty decent as Mariko, but I really enjoyed Rila Fukushima as Yukio and watching the 3 of them work together brought back memories of a younger me trying to understand how the 3 of them work together as a dynamic. I always thought of Yukio as having an unrequited crush on Logan as she is very much like him however she knows that his heart now belongs to Mariko and she respects that. And then there is Sventlana Khodchenkova playing Viper and while to a certain point I may have thought she was wasted in this movie, it was a great nod to see Madame Hydra pop up and I still wonder even with her getting strung up and run down by an elevator if she still may be back later down the road.
All in all, I really enjoyed this movie but as with most movies, there are a few small quibbles. First, the chopstick scene…did you see it? Watch again. But something else kind of got me also is that Wolverine is supposed to have a great sense of smell so there were a few points the bugged me where he should have been able to sense certain people before they got as close as the did without him noticing and no bigger point did this bug me than at the end with Magneto showing up and standing right behind him at the airport. Outside of all else, those were my two biggest complaints (but really, no one is going to notice a bleeding Canadian on a train and not say anything? ok.)
For those that had trepidations about seeing this movie, I would say go ahead and see it. Sure it may have been by the numbers but the romp is much more worth it. It really made up for the last one and again if remember reading the Wolverine comics back in the 80s, you would get a kick out of this.
4 out of 5 stars
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