What follows is a SPOILER FREE (ie, no plot points have been disclosed) review of “The Wolverine”
What is good about “The Wolverine” is that this movie caters even to audiences who are not completely aware of who the Wolverine is and what his powers are in great detail. One doesn’t need to have watched any of the earlier X-Men movies before to actually watch and enjoy this movie. The only things one needs to know about this character is that (1) he is immortal (2) he has got retractable claws which are pretty much immune to any known force.
The movie itself begins with a narration of how Logan saves Yashida, a Japanese army officer from the lethal nuclear blast at Nagasaki during WW-II. Post the credits sequence, we are brought back to current day where Logan is roughing it out in the Canadian wilderness tormented by the death of his love, Jean Grey. She keeps appearing in his guilt ridden nightmares and seems to be reflecting his deepest desire of actually being mortal.
Yukio, a Japanese girl, then approaches Logan and tells him that his old friend Yashida is dying in Tokyo and his last wish is to bid goodbye to the person who saved his life. When he reaches Tokyo, Logan realizes that there is more than meets the eye to Yashida’s request to see him before he dies. Yashida dies on the day that Logan arrives in Tokyo and what follows during his funeral forms the crux of the rest of the movie.
The plot itself involves a reasonably complicated web of deceit, lies, corporate skullduggery, and is the meat to the entire script of the movie. Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko plays a pivotal and central role in the rest of the movie, and is pretty much the glue that holds the rest of the plot together.
The action set pieces, one at the funeral, another on top of a bullet train and the final one during the climax of the movie are quite nice and are pretty much on par with what audiences expect from the action movie genres nowadays. What is commendable though is that the script and the director have added a couple of twists in the proceedings to make these action set pieces a little more interesting.
The villain, Viper, reminded me a lot of Uma Thurman’s character, Poison Ivy in the movie – Batman and Robin. Her makeup, costume, and overall demeanor were all very reminiscent of that character. Wonder if that was intentional and the director was paying a tribute to Poison Ivy. In any case, she played her part in the proceedings and added to the overall spiciness of the movie.
Hugh Jackman as the eponymous character, The Wolverine is probably at his physical best in this movie. The fact that he is 46 yrs old can never be guessed by anybody seeing this movie. This is his 6th movie in the last 13 yrs (yes, the first X-Men movie released in 2000) in which he has played this literally immortal character and he pulls it off with great ease. In multiple interviews, he has time and again stated that he absolutely enjoys playing this particular character, and his ease and love for the character shows throughout the movie. Given the fact that this movie enjoys an almost all-Asian cast except for Hugh Jackman, and two other character, the fact that he has held his own with a committed, good performance speaks volumes for how much he loves The Wolverine.
Watch this movie without too many expectations and you will surely enjoy this outing. The best part is that you really don’t have to know too much about the X-Men franchise to enjoy this movie as it is a standalone part of the series.
PS: If you are a blue blooded fan of the X-Men franchise, do stay back in the theatre to watch the post-movie credits and you will have a sneak preview of the next X-Men movie releasing in March 2014.
- CBR REVIEW: “The Wolverine” is ‘Well Worth Seeing’ (comicbookresources.com)