I chose the Spanish movie poster to represent this review of “The Wolverine” because Wolverine: Immortal is such a more fitting title. Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
We were treated to a Wolverine film in 2009’s X-men Origins: Wolverine. While that film is a prequel of sorts this film follows the events of X-men (3): The Land Stand. Logan (Wolverine) has lost all purpose after the events of The Last Stand and lives a secluded live in the mountains of Alaska. He is constantly haunted by nightmares of his lost love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). And I mean constantly! She has so much screen time she is featured in some of the movie posters. Because I am fundamentally against the movie trope where a girl leave the good guy for the bad boy this relationship is continually problematic for me and I loathe seeing it on screen. (See my pending article asking why is James Marsden the perpetual cuckold?)
Logan is taken to meet an enemy soldier he saved during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in World War II. The scene is very moving and you see the mushroom cloud in the far distance you can hear the voices of the people screaming in fear as the explosive force approaches. It actually make me rethink our use of such immeasurable force on the civilian populace. Forget drones! Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) is now one of the most powerful men in Japan and upon meeting Logan he offers him the chance to be mortal. I found this to be odd since one of the main plot points in the X-men movies and Origins was the Wolverine had a loss of memory of anything that took place before Origins. Well, if comics are known for anything, it is their absence of any form of continuity.
The action in this film is extremely impressive. Wolverine fights ninjas and samurai so the fight choreography is insane! Although Wolverine does spend much of the film as “mortal” he still seems to be able to take quite a beating. Including being shot multiple times yet he keeps on fighting with just a slight limp. His ability to soldier on is not quite explained but it was on my mind much of the film.
Which is really my main gripe about much of the film. Act I is done very well and Jackman’s acting is superb, but Acts II & III seem to drag on in a quagmire of missing information. I could not tell who the villain(s) were and what their motivations were. I don’t mind a mystery we have to figure out along the way, but The Wolverine doesn’t do that. It simply give us assumed plot twists that fall flat because the twisting characters never had their motives firmly established in the first place.
That aside The Wolverine is a great action flick that will impress those who are Wolverine fans. Logan has some great one liners that make him seem to be ripped right from the comic book pages. Including his referring to people as “Bub.” It was one of those tag lines that works in print but I could never really imagine working in audio until now. If you are not a X-men/Wolverine fan you will probably want to wait for it to be on Amazon or go with a comic geek you can pick the brain of over shakes afterward. After this write up I plan on going online to find out exactly what happened in this movie.
The Wolverine is action heavy and a lot of faceless people are killed. Those claws are sharp for a reason, and it isn’t to play real life fruit ninja. Sexual content is minimal, but we do see a man with two women in their unmentionables partying it up. We also get a bathing scene with Hugh Jackman’s coin purse. There is an F-bomb and a handful of scatological curses and a smattering of lesser curses. The PG-13 is well deserved and it might be a bit intense for any younger viewers.