The Wolverine

20 Aug

The WolverineFreed from the typical save the city/world antics that have too often plagued comic books films, Director James Mangold manages to showcase a film which fans of Claremont’s Wolverine would celebrate. A clear diversion from the first Wolverine origins film which was a mishmash of 4-scene cameos and glossed up action; ‘The Wolverine’ is a character driven story that borrows strongly from the comic.

The story is chronologically placed after the previous X-Men film, i.e. The Last Stand as we find Logan (Hugh Jackman) haunted in his dreams by Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) living out a life cursed with immortality. On Master Yashida’s (Hal Yamanouchi) orders, Yukio (Rila Fukushima) finds Logan and flies him to Japan for a final goodbye. Being the man saved by Logan from the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Yashida offers Logan mortality in gratitude as he lies on his death bed. With a prompt refusal, a kidnapping attempt and a volatile granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamto); things seem like anything but black and white.

Hugh Jackman has become synonymous with Logan/Wolverine for our generation. He is as dependable as always though he’s beginning to show his age (Well he is almost 45 years old). With the film revolving around the wolverine’s turmoil and tribulation; Jackman gets a lot more content to work with making this the Wolverine film he has always deserved.

Tao Okamto as Mariko with Hugh Jackman

Tao Okamto as Mariko with Hugh Jackman

In her first outing, model turned actress Tao Okamoto as Mariko could have done a lot worse. Her chemistry with Jackman was quite awkward and obviously the damsel in distress act didn’t help her case. On the other hand, Rila Fukushima as Yukio was a lot more fun to watch as she managed to hold her own in both the emotional and action scenes. One does hope we’ll be able to see more of her character.

Rila Fukushima as Yukio

Rila Fukushima as Yukio

Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida and Brian Tee as Noburo were forgettable thanks to one dimensional characters without any real purpose apart from throwing in a plot twist or drama. Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper and Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen had a similar faith but with a lot more screen time and a dozen of unanswered questions. With concentration solely on Jackman, not much time was spent on most of the other character’s backstory or motivation.

Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper

Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper

Cinematography by Ross Emery was beautifully crafted with brilliant sound design by Marco Beltrami. Editing by Michael McCusker could have been a bit tighter since the film times in at just over 2 hours which is still on the long side in my books. CGI is non-obtrusive and action scenes are down to hand to hand combat with the train and village scene being enthralling.

Screenplay by Mark Bomback and Scott Frand (Based on the draft by Christopher McQuarrie) leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the third half of the film. With plenty of questions unanswered, the story feels weak and lazy. This results in the film’s success lying solely on the acting prowess of Jackman and ultimately leading it to fall short from being a great film.

‘The Wolverine’ is the best Wolverine film by a long shot thanks solely to the fact that there is only one mutant you really need to keep your eyes on. Hugh Jackman is fantastic as always and it’s worth a watch just for that (assuming you’re a fan).

7.5/10

Hugh Jackman as Logan/The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman as Logan/The Wolverine

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