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Friday, August 2, 2013

The Wolverine - Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns once again as The Wolverine, a character he has embodied over several movies within the popular X-Men universe, along with Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, and Famke Janssen. Director James Mangold steps behind the lense to give his take on one of Marvel's most iconic characters and brings to the screen a classic Wolverine story that audiences have been waiting to see for years.

After the tragic events that took place in the third X-Men movie, Logan (Jackman) has exiled himself and given up trying to be the hero his fellow mutants have tried to get him to become. Haunted by memories of Jean Grey and her devastating Phoenix persona that only he could stop, the man with adamantium claws and unbelievable healing powers now finds himself unable to cure the mental and emotional distress he has all but given in to.

During his time in the Canadian wilderness, Logan has had no idea that a mysterious figure has been hunting him down and has finally picked up his scent. When the stranger finally reveals herself as Yukio (Fukushima), the bodyguard of a man Logan once knew who now wants to see him again, Logan reluctantly agrees to join her on a journey to Japan to reunite with his former acquaintance. What starts out as a show of gratitude for a life saving good deed turns into something a little more than even the man known as the Wolverine could have ever prepared himself for.

Odds are you have watched the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie and I would bet more than a few dollars that you did not like it and flat out hated some of the things they did with Logan and other characters in the movie like Deadpool for example. For my part, I thought it was actually a pretty good movie, but that topic is for another day, I suppose. The reason I bring this up is because fans have been holding their collective breath waiting for this new movie to come out and hoping to no end that it is, at the very least, a legitimately entertaining superhero movie.

While not any type of instant classic that would have the ability to stand next to the likes of The Avengers, Iron Man, or The Dark Knight, this movie weighs in as a very solid effort with just about everything you would want from a movie about the Wolverine. You get to see Logan go off on tons of bad guys with lots of slicing and dicing, of course, as well as some pretty inventive chase sequences. The CGI could have been more polished as some scenes come off a little too cartoony (Brother Bear anyone?) but none of it is enough to derail the movie as a whole.

I especially liked Rila Fukushima as Yukio who turns out to be a lot more than she leads on at the beginning of the movie. There are a lot of subtle things that she brings to her character that help to keep you guessing about her motives and what she might be truly capable of. On the flip side of that coin, we also get Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper, who gives a performance that would be more fitting in one of Joel Schumacher's Batman movies rather than this movie which has a darker, more sinister tone. Again, this is another small misstep but not enough of one to keep the whole movie from falling apart.

I would have to say that The Wolverine does just enough things right to satisfy everyone from hardcore fans to casual moviegoers, but its also just a little too safe and fails to put itself over the top as a truly great film. After seeing the finished product, I got the idea that the studio was a little too conscious about not reliving the same criticisms that plagued the last movie. Sure, we could sit here and nitpick every little detail until we found enough reasons to not like the movie, but this is still a comic book story at heart and any shortcomings are quickly forgiven by a post credits scene that will have you jumping out of your seat in excitement for what Marvel has in store for Logan and a few of his old friends.

Oh, and if you're wondering about seeing the movie in 3D, I would say you can take it or leave it as the effect doesn't do much to enhance the experience although the post conversion transfer is very clean and you can tell that some thought went into it during the filming process.

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