Marvel Comics have put most of their attention into working on their Avenger films. However, with the X-Men, who’s film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox having matched the same levels of success.
Fox is hoping to add interest in there upcoming X-Men film by putting out another film based upon fan favourite character Wolverine.
While their first kick at the can wasn’t great, they’ve shuffled some of their creative staff around and created a good movie.
A good movie, with flaws.
The Wolverines begins with Logan (Hugh Jackman) being haunted by the events of X-Men 3: the Last Stand (I’m haunted by it too, but mostly due to Bret Ratner) and finding salvation in the bottom of a bottle.
Soon after having a disagreement with a man in a bar somewhere in Canada he meets a katana wielding Japanese girl named Yukio (Rila Fukushima).
Yukio brings Logan to see her employer, Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi and Ken Yamamura as a younger version), a businessmen whom Logan saved during WWII.
Yashida offers Logan a proposition that could help both of them in different ways.
It turns out that if Logan passes his powers to him, Yashida will be healed of his illness and Logan can finally die leaving all of his pain behind him.
Logan quickly rejects his offer and Yashida dies.
While at his funeral Logan stops Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from being kidnapped by Yakuza.
From there Wolverine continues to protect Mariko and tries figure out why the mob and a mutant named Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) want to kill her.
This time round the Wolverine features not only strong visuals but a solid script.
The plot of the film moves fast and the movie does a good job of playing with Logan’s lack of understanding Japanese culture.
Director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma remake) makes the film look different by using steady shots for most of the film not resorting to the shaky cam fight scenes like other directors like to do. This makes the fight’s clean and not disorienting like the Christopher Nolan Batman films, it’s nice for a change.
All of the actors seem to fit into their characters quite well with Jackman being the best example. Another actor who stands out is Will Yun Lee (Wei Shen from Sleeping Dogs) who plays Kenuichio Harada one of Yashida’s bodyguards.
While this movie does have a lot going for it, the ending ends up holding the film back.
By the time we get to the movie’s climax the reasoning behind many of the characters actions aren’t really clear. Even after the true bad guy is revealed it still doesn’t really amount to much other than Logan fighting an Iron Man-like enemy.
Another issue is the inclusion of the villain Viper. While I understand that she and Wolverine are linked in the comics, she does really do much in the movie.
Fans of the X-Men films should note to stay after the main credits to see how this film will connect with the upcoming Days of Future Past. Without giving anything away, let’s say you’ll leave the theater with a smile on your face, even if you didn’t like what happened before the credits.
The movie finally gives the fans of the character something they wanted to see, namely Wolverine using his claws to fight ninjas, much like the Chris Claremont and Frank Millar storyline the film is based upon. This is a nice change from the mess that the first Wolverine movie was.
The Wolverine is closer to the movie that fans want. We get a solid story, a good setting and some great visuals. But most of all we get Wolverine and he’s the best there is at what he does, but what he does is not very nice.
The Wolverine was directed by James Mangold and written by Christopher McQuarrie (uncredited), Mark Bomback and Scott Frank based upon characters owned by Marvel Comics. The film is distributed by 20th Century Fox.