Saturday, March 4, 2017

Movie Review: The Wolverine

The Wolverine picks up on the story of Logan (Hugh Jackman) after X-Men: The Last Stand and is an improvement on the standalone Wolverine film from his origin story. The movie captures historical context by an introductory flashback to the bombing of Nagasaki where Wolverine is held as a prisoner of war and helps to save the life of a young Japanese soldier from the atomic bomb. The film flashes to Logan having a nightmare about Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) who he had killed in the previous film. He has taken to wandering aimlessly in the Canadian wilderness after the tragedy on Alcatraz until a poisoned bear brings him back to civilization. 

Before Logan can exact revenge on the bear killing hunters, he is stopped by the fortune-teller Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who proposes that he fly with her back to Japan to see the young soldier, now an old mogul Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi). He quickly becomes embroiled in the backstabbing corporate dealing of Yashida's business and is forced to thwart the assassination and kidnapping attempts on Yashida's granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto).

There is a pretty sweet action sequence in the middle where Logan assists Mariko's escape from Yakuza thugs that starts at a funeral and goes through the streets of Tokyo then onto a bullet train. Harada (Will Yun Lee) is Mariko's lover and wishes to protect Mariko from the assassins using his bow and arrows skills. The action is pretty bloody and I bought the unrated version that shows a bit more of the gore, which is a lot more than the average superhero film. Wolverine has always been one of the more brutal comic book characters.

The movie slows its pacing down after the middle action scene but picks back up with a swordfight with Mariko's jealous father Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada). Wolverine's claws versus ninja's with swords clashes quite well together. Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) is a pretty cool villain, her powers working well to poison her enemies while also using her intelligence to create a weapon that can reduce Wolverine's healing factor. A lot of the tension comes from Wolverine's new weakness as he is no longer an indestructible hero. 

The final twist is pretty easy to predict but the final sequence awas cool to see in a 3D theater. Logan regains his healing factor and can take down multiple ninjas in a fight. The bonus addition adds a gruesome snowplow part. I especially liked the giant metal samurai that Logan takes on in the final fight. Jackman is great in a role he has mastered and under James Mangold direction Wolverine was put back on track. One of the better X-Men films, it also has a nice standalone nature that harkens back to previous films but isn't tied to other movies besides containing one signature character. 

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