Release Date:December 3, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 126 min.
Director: James Mangold
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Film
Stars:Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Brian Tee
I’d like to start this review with a couple equations. X-Men Origins: Wolverine + 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back = the pain of getting punched in the crotch. The Wolverine + how it should’ve been handled the first time around = redemption. Hugh Jackman, once again takes up the mantle of Logan (A.K.A. Wolverine) of X-Men fame. This go round he sticks his claws in to ninjas, the Yakuza, and robots. All of this set against the backdrop of the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. Roll that mess up, put it in a pan, let it bake for about 2 hours. What you come out with is the recipe for a comic book movie of copious carnage and ostentatious obliteration. In simpler terms it’s freaking awesome!
The film picks up after the events of X-Men Last Stand. Logan has sent himself in to a self-induced exile. Living out in the wilderness and haunted by nightmares due to his role in the death of Jean Grey he has sworn off violence. That is until a confrontation with some locals draws the attention of someone looking for him. He is summoned by this person to their deathbed in Japan. We find out it is a man he saved back in a World War 2 bombing to say thank you and goodbye. Of course that’s not all he offers him. He offers him the chance at mortality.
This film covers one of the best periods, in my opinion, in Wolverine history his time spent in Japan. In comics he’s been in ancient Japan, World War 2 Japan and in this film modern day Japan. Always, this period has been intriguing as it introduces one of his greatest love interests in Mariko Yashida. The story revolves around the Yakuza trying to assassinate Mariko as her dead grandfather has made her the most powerful woman in Japan. Logan falls in love with her and breaks his vow of non-violence to protect her. Jackman and Okamoto (as Mariko) have an awkward but good chemistry as they develop a relationship during Wolverines’ weakest moments. Jackman plays Wolvie as well as he always has. The rest of the cast is serviceable save for Yukio, Marikos’ adopted sister and Harada, the ninja sworn to protect her family are great in their roles. The action scenes are pretty well done with Wolverine taking a lot of damage and dealing out a lot of death in the process. I also thought the inclusion of The Silver Samurai was going be disappointing because of the advertisements that showed him as a robot but they actually saved that part of it for me by explaining away my fears. It ultimately made sense and didn’t bother me as much. Only real complaint is the mutant baddie they decided to use was a little weak.
All in all, The Wolverine is what X-Men Origins: Wolverine should’ve been. It had Wolverine haunted by his past, falling in love, slicing and dicing bad guys galore and no Will.i.am to be found.