Why I Saw It: The X-Men movie franchise, by and large, has been a success at taking some great characters and translating them to film. Sure, some people HATED X-Men 3, and perhaps just as many disliked X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but even in light of the short-comings from those movies, I still found them enjoyable. With the unquestionable success of X-Men: First Class, I was very excited for the release of The Wolverine, and so should be everyone else who enjoys the franchise.
What Was It About? “Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.“
Rating: 7.8 out of 10
Memorable Performances: I’d say that aside from the first two X-Men films, this is Hugh Jackman’s best portrayal of Wolverine on film. Given the other two films he was in outside that list, it’s not saying too much, but at least it’s an improvement. Rila Fukushima, who portrayed the female sidekick driver/”bodyguard”, did good enough with her performance that I could see her end up getting more opportunities in the United States.
Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:
Favorite Parts: Some of the visuals were awesome. The scene where Wolverine was making his way through the town, trying to get to the tower where the final showdown would occur, and the ninjas were all over the tops of buildings. The way they stopped him, with the rope (or chain) and the arrows… it just had such a creative feel to it. I was fully expecting an epic showdown where Wolverine eviscerated dozens of ninjas, but I liked the way this transpired even more.
Though I wasn’t as familiar with the Silver Samurai character prior to seeing this film, he was an interesting part of the film and had a great aesthetic. I do wish they had done more with him, maybe had him test out his skills earlier in the film, cause some damage, terrorize the town. The fact that he never got out of the tower and was only involved near the end of the film was a really big disappointment. The battle was cool, but I can imagine that the people who were disappointed with how The Mandarin was used in Iron Man 3 will be even more disappointed with the involvement of the Silver Samurai in The Wolverine.
The Regrettable Aspects: The fight scenes could’ve been a lot better, and we could’ve gotten a much better feel for how animalistic Wolverine can get. I don’t know that I saw much blood at all, and although we don’t need things to go Tarantino-esque and have someones entrails end up on the floor after a disembowling, there wasn’t even a hint of that degree of violence that I can recall. Some of the scenes felt almost like a martial arts sparring session, where guys fall by the wayside after getting hit and they don’t get back up. Wolverine is the type of character who should be doing scream-inducing damage when he’s not completely disfiguring someone during a brutal death. The degree of violence wasn’t the only issue, as some of the other fight scenes felt lacking or were done in the wrong way. The fight atop the train was cool, but it should’ve been much shorter, given how difficult it was to see what was going on in parts of it. When Wolverine was trying to escape the ninjas as he traveled the city street en route to the tower, he almost seemed resigned to the fact that those arrows were staying in his back and that he was going to be held back by the lines attached.
Halfway through the film, we learn about how one of the female characters has been in love with another man despite her family having arranged her engagement to another man. Then after Wolverine helps her escape some Yakuza, she sleeps with him. Despite being in love with one guy and probably marrying another guy. She sleeps with Wolverine, and probably just because he dresses in a samurai robe. Once. They don’t even show that she even particularly cares that he saved her life multiple times, but she sleeps with him. Such a disappointment for a film with another strong female character.
Would I watch it again? I will, at some point, have my own movie marathon where I’ll watch all of the X-Men films in one weekend. I’ll absolutely wait until after Days Of Future Past hits Blu-ray, though, given what I know is coming. This is one of the installments I’ll be looking forward to seeing again.
To Whom Would I Recommend It? Anyone who liked the second X-Men film will almost certainly enjoy this film. For people who disliked X-Men 3 and/or X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I’d suggest they jump back into the series.
– X-Men and X-Men 2 – You need to see those films, not just because they’re vital pieces to the series, but
– X-Men 3: The Last Stand – It’s not a GREAT film, or even a GOOD film, but it’s decent and has some fun moments, and the ending is vital to the plot of The Wolverine and to the sequel, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.
If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to THE WOLVERINE, or for other similar films, let me know!
Next up… Tower Heist!