Saturday, July 27, 2013

Movie Review -- The Wolverine

Today I saw the latest comic book movie: The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman. I love these films, so I decided to review it.

Taking place some time after X-Men: The Last Stand, the story opens with Logan living on his own in the Yukon. He is plagued by dreams (nightmares?) of Jean Grey whom he killed in The Last Stand in order to stop her godlike alter ego Phoenix. He feels guilty but doesn't know what to do about it.

He is soon approached by a katana-wielding Japanese girl namd Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who tells him her employer, Mr. Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) is dying and wishes to thank him for saving his life by shielding him from an atomic blast during World War II. Logan reluctantly agrees to accompany her to Tokyo. When they arrive, he discovers Yashida is a stupidly wealthy electronics giant. After a bath and shave (hygiene has not been a priority as of late), he is taken to meet the ailing billionaire. Yashida reveals he wants to repay Logan by taking his healing factor and giving it to himself. Logan thinks this is not only crazy but impossible as well, so he refuses and the old man is soon pronounced dead.

Our hero thinks his business in Japan is pretty much concluded. However, Yakuza thugs attack Yashida's funeral, wounding Logan. He soon realizes his injuries aren't healing and Yashida's cronies have stolen his healing factor without his knowledge. Despite this, he fights to protect Yashida's granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from the gangsters who are trying to kidnap her. But with each battle he continues to take damage, and he faces the very real possibility he might die. Can he save Mariko, figure out what the bad guys are up to, and keep himself alive in the process?

I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I actually did. It starts off strong, with none of the silliness of Jackman's previous outing as the badass Canadian, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Our main man is as intense as he's ever been, even going to far as to battle the Yakuza aboard a speeding bullet train. Unfortunately, towards the end he loses steam and starts getting his ass handed to him by every bad guy around. In one tragic scene, he pulls a very un-Wolverine-like move and runs from ninjas. Yes, that's right; Wolverine, the man who never backs down from a challenge, runs away from a fight in this film. Yeah, he does it to save Mariko, but it's still disappointing. The commercials for The Wolverine tout, "Heroes don't die; they evolve!" suggesting that Logan gains some kind of new power or otherwise adapts to the loss of his healing factor. He doesn't. He limps through the climax, and that's about it.

Also, the villains in this movie can't get much more generic. Their motivations rarely rise above "I want so-and-so's power". The most interesting baddie is the mutant scientist Viper, but alas, her character stays two-dimensional throughout. And if you think the eventual appearance of Silver Samurai will save the movie, think again. Yeah, he looks cool, but doesn't do a whole lot. You'll see his plot twist coming a mile away.

However, lest you think it's all bad, I will say the movie is entertaining most of the time. It's just the last section that kills the momentum. The scene after the credits is also exciting, though I won't give anything away.

No comments:

Post a Comment