Director: James Mangold
Writers: Mark Bomback, Scott Frank
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen Superhero Movie
The Wolverine features Hugh Jackman’s sixth movie outing in the role of Logan, beginning with X-Men in 2000, as well as assorted video games. He’ll reprise the role yet again in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.
A solid opening weekend already has talk in the works for a sequel. What is it about this character that makes him so popular? Why do people want to see The Wolverine?
Is it because he acts in the way we wish we could–with no thought to the consequences?
The Wolverine is a solid entry in the series, far superior to 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Jackman, as always, puts it all out there, and some well-conceived and executed action sequences kept it interesting and visually enticing.
While this movie features a nice arc of character development for Logan, it still left me wanting . . . something. It starts with a strong similarity to X-Men, where he’s tried to bury his sense of himself in the wilds of Canada, to run away from his past. Again, he’s dragged into things by a girl: in X-Men it’s the first appearance of Rogue, here it’s Yukio, on a mission to find him for his old acquaintance Yashida.
From then on, much of what he does is reactive, not proactive–and the character of Wolverine is at his best when he’s making decisions, not just being driven to them.
Japanese mogul Yashida is surrounded by characters with unexplained motivations. His son Shingen seems nothing like him. Family friend Harada seems to be sometimes supporting the family, sometimes working for his own ends.
Then the character of Viper (played brilliantly by Svetlana Khodchenkova) doesn’t get a lot of character development, and her mutant powers seem to be sort of whatever was convenient for the script at the moment. The potential in this character was huge . . . and unrealized.
I also just didn’t feel the chemistry for the main love story. Given my knowledge of the comic backstory, I had some idea of the relationship to come–despite that, I never felt the characters connect. Your milage may vary, though.
On the plus side, I cannot say enough good things about Yukio–the character as created for the movie (very different from the comics) is multi-faceted, strong, and compelling. The movie definitely becomes less interesting during a long stretch when Yukio is absent from the screen. Her interactions with Wolverine are charming, and one of the highlights of the film.
Too, despite its over two hour runtime, the script never drags. It has a lot going on and keeps the pace up. I never stopped pulling for Wolverine, no matter the odds.
The verdict: solid entertainment, but I weep for what it might have been.
Elektra Hammond emulates her multi-sided idol Buckaroo Banzai by going in several directions at once.
Elektra lives in Delaware with her husband, Mike, and the cat herd of BlueBlaze/Benegesserit catteries. When not freelancing or appearing at science fiction conventions she travels world-wide judging cat shows.