Sunday, July 28

The Wolverine Review

The Wolverine
Dir: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, and Hiroyuki Sanada

Hugh Jackman has been playing The Wolverine character for the past 13 years. At times he shares the spotlight with his other X-Men companions but in recent years he has taken center stage as the lead character in his own film. Though X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t come close to giving comic fans the character they’ve been waiting for, James Mangold’s The Wolverine is getting closer towards meeting those high expectations.

The introduction of the film finds Logan lost, surviving in a desolate wilderness while struggling with nightmares of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and the subsequent guilt of her death. Logan is somewhat retired from the job of being a hero, though his temper brings him to a local bar in search of a fight. Before Logan can do too much damage a samurai sword-wielding woman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) intervenes. Yukio comes with an invitation from Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), an ex Japanese solider who Logan saved when Nagasaki was bombed by the United States, to come to Tokyo as his dying wish. Reluctant, Logan journeys to Tokyo but is met with alternate intentions from Yashida and his family.

It’s difficult to keep a character like the Wolverine fresh after all these years. Logan has the narrative compliment of being a tortured soul and his superhero design has allowed him to live through so many different time periods. Still, other hero’s and convoluted narratives have relatively overshadowed his character in the past films he has been featured in. Mangold, in a wise decision, strips the Marvel character crossover down and focuses the attention on Logan’s past and future. Also, the environment change to a traditional Japan also helps in establishing a reviving tone.

The film moves swiftly from the introduction into the bulk of the story. Logan has a regenerative gift that the ailing Yashida informs him can be taken away; an end to the suffering which feels all the more burdensome by Jackman’s capable handling of the character. To further the assistance are the performances by the supporting cast who are all good, specifically Fukushima who plays Yukio as a small yet fierce bodyguard to the Wolverine. Unfortunately, the usual summer superhero movie clichés make an appearance in the end as the narrative turns to a ridiculous final villain for the big fight.  There is also a forced romantic relationship that doesn’t do much for the story but instead transitions the film in a way that accommodates action over development.

Still, Mangold has crafted an entertaining action film that fashions the Wolverine as a human struggling with the deficits associated with his super abilities. Though this is a typical character aspect explored with most superhero films, The Wolverine does a good job of creating inventive ways of further exploring the long history of the journeyed man. And, for a character that has seen varied degrees of success, it’s enjoyable to finally see some proper attention given to the Wolverine.

Monte’s Rating
3.50 out of 5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment