I had been iffy about The Wolverine ever since the news broke that original director Darren Aronofsky dropped off and of course the memory of the awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine was still fresh in my mind. The initial trailer for the new film really didn’t do much for me either. I decided to wait for reviews and hope that Hugh Jackman and replacement director James Mangold could team up and make something that would bring faith back to the franchise. X-Men: First Class did a great job of it, but it wasn’t enough to heal all the scars left by the terrible Origins and the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand.
While not the best superhero movie I’ve seen, The Wolverine was a solid, exciting and fun action flick and good adaptation of the beloved Japan story arc from 1982 by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller (Claremont has stated that he enjoyed a lot of what they did with the film).
Picking up where The Last Stand left off, The Wolverine jumps between the past and current events in the X-Men universe. Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine is as good as ever and he holds nothing back. We learn more about his past, specifically his time spent in Japan during WWII, though we don’t ever learn why he was there in the first place. A lot of the film is centered around his pain from *spoilers* having to kill Jean Grey in the last film after she transformed into the villainous Dark Phoenix. This plot line is twisted throughout the main story: an elderly Japanese mogul that Wolverine once saved during the war is now dying and he wants Logan to transfer his healing abilities to him so he can essentially live forever and Logan can finally live to an old age and die an “ordinary” death.
He falls in love with a new character: Mariko, played by the beautiful Tao Okamoto, makes a new friend: Yukio, played by the strange but intriguing Rila Fukushima and fights a horribly pointless and poorly acted villain mutant: Viper, the crappy Svetlana Khodchenkova. There’s a mystery involving a great fortune, the Yakuza, the Black Ninja Clan and a version of fan favorite villain, The Silver Samurai.
Overall, The Wolverine is a kick ass action flick and good X-Men-related movie, but don’t expect it to win any awards. So all though I actually got to see the movie for free due to some promo tickets I would not have been disappointed if I had paid for them. I recommend it. Have fun. Oh and stay for a mid-credits stinger that will leave fans drooling for more.