Film Review: The Wolverine

Inspired by the giant success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Twentieth Century Fox has decided to use their X-Men rights to create a cinematic universe of their own. Complete with post-credit bonus scenes for upcoming films, the X-Men universe is set to begin with James Mangold’s The Wolverine, which came out in theaters on July 26.

The Premise
Set up as a sequel to 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine sees Hugh Jackman reprise his role as Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine. Logan is on the run from his past—particularly the events in The Last Stand—when he is approached by a Japanese girl. A man he saved from the nuclear attack on Nagasaki near the end of World War II has one dying wish: to say goodbye to Logan and bestow on him a final gift. When Logan refuses the gift, however, things go south and the Wolverine soon learns how it feels to be mortal.

The Execution
As we’ve come to expect after X-Men: First Class and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this film again contains a plethora of small inconsistencies to bug the fans. However, the pure and awesome spectacle of The Wolverine goes a long way to redeeming those minor faults. From a high-speed fight on top of a Japanese bullet train, to Wolverine taking on dozens of ninjas, to battling a huge adamantine robot, The Wolverine is an edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride.

The true strength of this newest X-Men flick lies not in its spectacle, however, but in the exploration of Logan’s character. As you may remember, Last Stand left him pretty banged up emotionally, and he’s in a very dark place in The Wolverine. Because of that, we get to see a side of him we haven’t seen before, and due to the faultless acting of Hugh Jackman, it’s a side that is very intriguing, indeed. One thing is certain: at the end of this film, Wolverine won’t be who he was in the X-Men trilogy.

The Verdict
As X-Men movies go, The Wolverine is definitely one of the better films, and it goes a long way to redeeming the disappointment that was Last Stand and the extreme inconsistencies of First Class. Fans may still be a little bugged by certain elements, such as Wolverine using his claws free of pain while he’s lost his healing powers, but overall, this is a promising start to a new phase in the film franchise, and it gives me high hopes for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is planned for next summer.

Oh, and if you’re seeing The Wolverine in theaters, don’t forget to sit out the credits for a bonus scene that leads into that film.

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 29 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he’s busy being a total geek for fantasy. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing too. Most of all, though, Stephan is just a crazy Dutch guy who enjoys doing things that people don’t expect.

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  1. Dan From Canada

    Wow, really couldn’t disagree more.

    They dropped the ball pretty much completely with this movie. Its saving grace is as action spectacle entirely divorced from any deeper meaning, because the deeper meaning was pretty much completely lacking.

    Completely abandoning Logan’s entire canon history with Japan to the point where he barely knows how to use chopsticks, and doesn’t speak a word of Japanese or know anything about Japanese customs and culture is bad enough. I mean, if you were going to tell the story of Wolverine in Japan, why ignore the story of Wolverine in Japan?

    But then we get a completely absurd and shoehorned in love story that I didn’t feel AT ALL, a horrible portrayal of Madame Hydra (Viper) that missed pretty much every beat, and a pretty absurd and unwieldy final battle which was all in service to a scheme was that complex to the point of Batman Logic.

    Last Stand was certainly disappointing, but First Class was great.

    I think the actual problem here is that Hollywood has decided that Logan is the guy, and that he is the nail on which they want to hang the entire franchise. This would actually be a great decision. Logan is a phenomenal character. His background is deep, conflicted and interesting. He suffers through a lot of things and they’ve effected him seriously. He really is one of the most compelling of the X-men by a pretty large margin.

    They just keep insisting, over and over, on playing up his straightline comic relief, and completely ignoring all of his actual backstory in the name of making more Hollywood storylines.

    I mean, the second in X2 that he sees Lady Deathstrike and doesn’t know who she is, I pretty much gave up all hope on these modern X-men films doing anything with Wolverine that I would care about, but I really let myself hope this time.

  2. Way better superhero flick than Man of Steel tried being. Nice review Stephan.

  3. I agree to disagree. I’d even go as far and say that I enjoyed ‘Last
    Stand’ more than ‘The Wolverine’ – to me this was the worst of the X-movies so far. Not a Wolverine-movie at all, but merely an action-flick that had Wolverine in it.

    As a comic-afficionado, you get used
    to inconsistencies between comics and movies. It’s just the way it seems to be when your favorite characters with decades of background are put onto the screen for a bare 2 hours and I understand that you have to make a compromise to include people who never read the comics.
    But changing things completely? As Dan said, the whole ‘Wolverine in Japan’ is a very essential part of his story and of who he is. Ignoring it so completely or re-telling it so differently to just have an action-movie with Wolverine that can also include some Eastern-action elements and other nice-to-look-at action-scenes is just wrong. This movie really just focussed on the action and neglected not only the story of Wolverine, but even the story within the movie.

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