REVIEW: The Wolverine

"Wolverine at his best."

Rating: 8/10

Logan is summoned to Japan to meet with the dying CEO of a wealthy company.  Having saved the man's life during the war, he feels indebted to Logan and offers to cure his immortality.  Logan refuses and finds himself in the middle of a war he was not prepared to fight.

Wolverine is far more complex than people give him credit for, which makes him an engaging character to watch.  He was the reason people flocked to see X-MEN and all its sequels, and it’s his popularity that’s kept this train moving forward.  X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE isn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be.  I enjoyed it.  It’s flawed, sure, but if you’re a fan, you can’t tell me they didn’t do Sabretooth justice (Tyler Mane’s performance in X-MEN was cringe worthy) or that you weren’t happy to see it.  It was the absolute destruction of Deadpool that killed that film, but that’s another story.  This time we see Logan dig deep into his past and his regrets as he’s summoned to Japan by a man whose life he saved during the war—shown in a very cool opening scene.  Rest assured, this is indeed Logan’s finest hour.

Before all that, whether it was director James Mangold’s intention or not, we’re treated to a post X-MEN THE LAST STAND Logan living in the wild like an animal.  The brief story this provides is reminiscent of a Spider-Man five part series called PERCEPTIONS, guest starring Wolverine.  In the comic, a Wendigo is spotted in the mountains where some kids have been found dead.  Everyone automatically pins in on the Wendigo and try to kill it.  Wolverine ain’t having that shit, and gets the real story his way.  This bit with the grizzly bear felt like a wink in this direction and I absolutely loved it.

The story follows another popular comic series for Logan, and what’s great about it is that they actually explore his character rather than just point at bad guys for him to slice and dice.  It’s these moments of inner struggle that shine.  Putting Wolverine in Japan with ninja’s, samurai and a plot to steal his healing factor is done with much more finesse and intelligence than you’d think to find in a summer comic book flick, which again, adds to the flavor.
Hugh Jackman is the man.  Pure and simple.  It’s been thirteen years since he first dawned the claws and the character’s lost none of his potency.  Jackman can channel Logan at will, and continues to peel back new layers for us to enjoy.  He’s also in peak physical form, I mean d-a-m-n, dude is jacked to the max.  His Japanese counterparts are equally impressive here, and my mind’s still reeling at the fact that co-stars, Tao Okamoto (Mariko) and Rila Fukushima (Yukio) are first time actresses.  Well done, ladies.

THE WOLVERINE is the best comic book film I’ve seen this summer, and is an overall excellent stand-alone chapter in Logan’s life.  The Silver Samurai battle was a little over the top, and I didn’t care for femme fatal, Viper (she was pretty damn lame to be honest), but these are minor complaints that didn’t manage to rob me of my grin.  Add to that, the best post credit scene Marvel’s made to date (they should truly be ashamed of the IRON MAN 3 post credit scene), and you’ve got a damn good reason to hit the theater.  At the end of the day, it’s impossible to embody a comic series accurately into a film.  There’s no fancy way of putting it, that’s just the way it is.  And it’s for this reason I didn’t go down too hard on ORIGINS, because it was another chance to see a Marvel character I love on the big screen.  No, I’m not condoning a lazy film, I’m simply trying to be realistic.  Thankfully this time around we get something special.  I’m looking forward to DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (and praying it doesn’t suck), as well as another solo round or two from our adamantium clawed hero.   

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