The Wolverine – Movie Review


What follows is a SPOILER FREE (ie, no plot points have been disclosed) review of “The Wolverine”


What is good about “The Wolverine” is that this movie caters even to audiences who are not completely aware of who the Wolverine is and what his powers are in great detail. One doesn’t need to have watched any of the earlier X-Men movies before to actually watch and enjoy this movie. The only things one needs to know about this character is that (1) he is immortal (2) he has got retractable claws which are pretty much immune to any known force.

The movie itself begins with a narration of how Logan saves Yashida, a Japanese army officer from the lethal nuclear blast at Nagasaki during WW-II. Post the credits sequence, we are brought back to current day where Logan is roughing it out in the Canadian wilderness tormented by the death of his love, Jean Grey. She keeps appearing in his guilt ridden nightmares and seems to be reflecting his deepest desire of actually being mortal.

Yukio, a Japanese girl, then approaches Logan and tells him that his old friend Yashida is dying in Tokyo and his last wish is to bid goodbye to the person who saved his life. When he reaches Tokyo, Logan realizes that there is more than meets the eye to Yashida’s request to see him before he dies. Yashida dies on the day that Logan arrives in Tokyo and what follows during his funeral forms the crux of the rest of the movie.

The plot itself involves a reasonably complicated web of deceit, lies, corporate skullduggery, and is the meat to the entire script of the movie. Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko plays a pivotal and central role in the rest of the movie, and is pretty much the glue that holds the rest of the plot together.

The action set pieces, one at the funeral, another on top of a bullet train and the final one during the climax of the movie are quite nice and are pretty much on par with what audiences expect from the action movie genres nowadays. What is commendable though is that the script and the director have added a couple of twists in the proceedings to make these action set pieces a little more interesting.

The villain, Viper, reminded me a lot of Uma Thurman’s character, Poison Ivy in the movie – Batman and Robin. Her makeup, costume, and overall demeanor were all very reminiscent of that character. Wonder if that was intentional and the director was paying a tribute to Poison Ivy. In any case, she played her part in the proceedings and added to the overall spiciness of the movie.

Hugh Jackman as the eponymous character, The Wolverine is probably at his physical best in this movie. The fact that he is 46 yrs old can never be guessed by anybody seeing this movie. This is his 6th movie in the last 13 yrs (yes, the first X-Men movie released in 2000) in which he has played this literally immortal character and he pulls it off with great ease. In multiple interviews, he has time and again stated that he absolutely enjoys playing this particular character, and his ease and love for the character shows throughout the movie. Given the fact that this movie enjoys an almost all-Asian cast except for Hugh Jackman, and two other character, the fact that he has held his own with a committed, good performance speaks volumes for how much he loves The Wolverine.

Watch this movie without too many expectations and you will surely enjoy this outing. The best part is that you really don’t have to know too much about the X-Men franchise to enjoy this movie as it is a standalone part of the series.

PS: If you are a blue blooded fan of the X-Men franchise, do stay back in the theatre to watch the post-movie credits and you will have a sneak preview of the next X-Men movie releasing in March 2014.

2 thoughts on “The Wolverine – Movie Review

  1. First and foremost I must say that I absolutely loved this movie. But as I will cover in my review it may largely be due to the fact that I have always held the source material of this film in very high regard. Having said that, I do recognize that their may be a sliding scale of enjoyability for this film. If you are a fan of the 1983 Claremont/Miller miniseries of Wolverine then this is the movie you have been waiting for. If you are fond of the character Wolverine and interested into delving deeper into his chronology and exploring his inner conflicts, you will certainly enjoy this movie. If however, you have no familiarity, or no desire to familiarize with the character of Wolverine, you may find yourself not caring about many of the slower moments and longing for a more evenly paced action film.

    Fans of Claremont’s Wolverine rejoice, this Wolverine does it right. The film does its best keeping characters intact while deviating from the comics in the sake of a self contained story and grander character development. There are several of the shots in this film that are near recreations of the comic’s original panels, and although story lines have been shifted and shuffled in some places, its all there. Mariko, Yukio, Harada, Shingen and Viper may develop differently than in the comic series, but their relation to each other and contextual significance is intact. As a Wolverine fan it was also nice to see a meaningful relationship blossom between Wolverine and Mariko, unlike the comics where it really is love at first sight. Instead here Wolverine falls in love not entirely with the character of Mariko, but rather with the idea of being a protector, a take that is a welcome addition to the Claremont storyline. The characters of Silver Samurai and Viper undergo the largest facelift in this film, but it isn’t entirely out of place. Let us not forget they were involved in the X Men issues directly connecting to the Wolverine miniseries. Although their characters have undertaken slight adjustments in order to incorporate ideas from the Fatal Attractions storyline, the plot does well to take from Wolverine’s side of this storyline because it was one of the few times in the series where Logan did feel vulnerable. Many fans will recognize that the plot device and character of Master Yashida cannot be found in any of the original comics, but one must keep in mind it serves as a useful device to connect all the developments of Logan’s journey. All in all I think its the best character study of Wolverine that any fan could ask for. Wolverine struggles with his animalistic urges and his commitment to reform, he grapples to find meaning in his endless immortality, and he ultimately finds purpose and resolution that he had not before. None of these developments are significantly or profoundly discovered, rather they are slowly revealed, which may turn casual movie goers off from enjoying this film. As a thoughtful exploration of Wolverine’s character and a grand homage to incredible source material though, how can any Wolverine fan say no to this movie? It is the best X-Men movie and one of the best comic based movies.

    For those who would not consider themselves fans, but are rather moviegoers intent on enjoying a superhero epic, be warned. This film is a character study, it does not grapple with any conflicts outside of Wolverine’s internal struggles. The world is not being threatened, and not many lives outside of Logan’s are even being threatened, so the storyline does not crescendo in epic suspense like the Avengers or the Dark Knight. So for those not invested in Wolverine’s personal self discovery, some of the action can seem unmotivated and the pacing an obstacle to satisfaction. The film does its job in providing action sequences, but it intersperses several moments of symbolic soul searching, cryptic metaphors and relationship building that serve as pavement for Wolverine’s self discovery. This movie can still be enjoyable without interest in Wolverine’s inner conflicts however. With an outstanding supporting cast, a beautiful setting, and gripping and intense action sequences, it plays a lot like a token Bond film for those unfamiliar with Wolverine.

    Whether you are familiar with the original comics or not, this movie will certainly provide entertaining thrills and intriguing themes. If, however, you are a fan of the original comic books, this film is a wonderful achievement.

    More about the movie you can also find it here

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