Plot: Hugh Jackman returns as The Wolverine and faces his ultimate nemesis in an action-packed life-or-death battle that takes him to modern-day Japan. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his limits, Logan confronts not only lethal samurai steel but his inner struggle against his own immortality; an epic fight that will leave him forever changed.
Review: Since the release of this film I keep bumping into people who seem to have intense hatred for this movie. It’s actually kind of surprising me. This film is MILES away superior to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
I know that’s not saying much. It’s like saying “I walked by your fart. That is FAR better then you doing a dutch oven to me.”
But, the movie is a film that is directed with great confidence and style from director James Mangold. Mangold sells the big action scenes to perfection (well…most of them…but we’ll get to that in a moment.) I actually had a blast with the bullet train sequence.
What I liked most about this movie is that, for the most part, the film is pretty much what I wanted in a Wolverine in Japan story.
Basically, it’s a Yakuza/Ninja movie that just happens to include Wolverine, and the movie looks and feels like a film FROM Japan, as opposed to a Hollywood movie that’s set in Japan. I know that sounds like a weird thing, but I have seen my fair share of Japanese action films, and The Wolverine feels surprisingly similar.
A lot of that does come from the fact that they actually shot in Japan, which helps with the authenticity. The film also is a nice change of pace from the usual superhero comic book movie since the stakes are small and personal. No doomsday device, no armies of mutants to save…just Wolverine trying to figure out his place in the world. Hell, outside of Wolverine and Yukio, there are no other mutants in this movie, and I find that refreshing and kinda daring for this franchise.
This will be Jackman’s sixth time playing Logan (the seventh being the up and coming X-Men: Days of Future Past) and I still dig him in the role. Jackman’s dirty charm still works on me, and while I don’t really buy the screenplay’s way of writing the love ache that Logan has for Jean Grey (surprisingly, I actually like the use of Famke Janssen in this thing.), Jackman sells the hurt and the guilt really well.
Rila Fukushima plays Yukio, the mutant ninja girl with vague pre-cognitive powers. She is pretty much favorite character in the whole film. She’s completely convincing as a badass, yet shows just the right amount of compassion and heart. Her scenes with Logan are my favorites; I love the rapport between the two.
Tao Okamoto plays Mariko, and for comic fans who know her, she is a very important part of Logan’s backstory in the books. Sadly, Mariko is written to be extremely blank and uninteresting, which renders Tao little more than eye candy. She also just doesn’t have any chemistry with Jackman, so it makes the romance between the two unconvincing.
Like I said, for the most part, the movie was working on me, but near the second act and through out all the third act, the film slowly starts to unravel till it completely and utterly falls apart.
Once Mariko and Logan enter the city of Nagasaki, the film stops to a screeching halt, and the pacing of it drags and drags while the characters stay there. The film’s use of the comic character Viper (played by Svetlana Khodchenkova) was pretty useless. There is no clear definition about her in any capacity. It’s not clear that she’s a mutant, and if so, what EXACTLY are her powers? What are her motivations? What what what?
The plot also takes a giant turn, but it’s not turn that I enjoyed. The small and personal Wolverine movie I was getting was soon interrupted by this ridiculous movie in a giant lab that has Wolverine fighting a big CGI robot. What? What happened here guys?
The biggest disappoint does come down to one thing that most fans wanted to see in a Wolverine film…the Ninja fight. There really wasn’t one. In the theatrical cut of the film (which is also the version I was given to review) the fight stopped before it started, and what a waste. While I did like the bullet train sequence, I would have been happen to have gotten rid of that completely to get the full on Wolverine VS Ninja battle that we so craved. In the extended cut of this film (also available on Blu-Ray) the proper, and much more badass version of the sequence is left in, splayed out in all its glory. I would loved to have seen that in theatres.
So while I don’t hate the film at all, I’m not blind to the fact that the movie has some giant misteps and big glaring issues that can’t be ignored. But, despite all of that, there is plenty I did enjoy in this film.
The Blu Ray contains some nice and meaty special features.
The Path of a Ronin is an one hour behind the scenes making of that is cut into seven individual chapters that you can watch separately. While the featurettes do fall very close to the “oh man, we did such a good job here!” kind of attitude with most making of documentaries, it’s still very informative. Director James Mangold and one of the screenwriters Mark Bomback, get the chance to explain their intent. We get the explanation to how Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto got their roles in the film, the reasoning behind the set designs and the featurette called Hugh Jackman: The Man Behind the Mutant, which is pretty much a 3 minute video about how awesome Hugh Jackman is. Ok, that feature is way to self congratulatory, but…Jackman is pretty awesome so who am I to argue.I also do love the documentary includes interviews with comic writer’s Chris Claremont (who came up the with the famous Wolverine in Japan storyline that inspired this film) and Len Wein, the man who created Wolverine. It’s nice when they get the comic creators in these documentaries, something that even the Marvel Studios doesn’t even do when they make their featurettes for their movies.
The disk also has a feature called X-Men: Days of Future Past Set Tour. It’s a very brief look at the sets of the new movie with the director Bryan Singer as our tour guide. It’s just nice to see Singer back to this franchise and you can sense the fun he’s having in playing with the X-Men universe again.
The Alternate Ending of the film is included, and you probably already seen it online. I will say this, I don’t know EXACTLY why they cut it out, but I honestly think that if they kept the ending that was on this disk, the fan reaction would have been far more excited than the movies actual post credits sequence.
It’s an overall good Blu Ray disk, and if you ended up really liking the movie, I would say you should shell out for the extended cut of the movie instead of the Theatrical Cut. You get a bit more bang for your buck PLUS a commentary with director James Mangold.
But, there is plenty to enjoy on this disk if you did like the movie as is.
THE WOLVERINE IS NOW AVAILABLE IN STORES IN BOTH BLU RAY AND DVD FORMATS.