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The Wolverine (movie) Review

20th Century Fox’ second stab at a solo Wolverine movie presents a smarter, darker version of the character but somehow still falls a bit flat.

Wolverine has had a pretty long career on the silver screen at this point. Actor Hugh Jackman has played the feral mutant for almost 13 years in both X-Men films and now two standalone movies. There’s a reason for that too- Jackman plays an almost perfect Wolvie.

Sure he’s too tall and not quite as rough-and-tumble as the character probably should be, but he captures Logan’s personality and honestly, he just plain old looks like Wolverine once his hair is all pointy and he grows out the chops. So with all that said about the main player in The Wolverine, how could it be bad?

So a warning before we go further in this review; I’m going to get picky. As a comic fan and fan of the character, I’m probably going to pick a little too much. I’m not against changing characters histories and such at all to make a better translation to the movies, I’m just not wild about the stuff that was done here. So just keep that in mind…

One of the first things you’ll notice about this film is that, unlike most of the movies coming out of Marvel’s own film house Marvel Studios (The Avengers etc…), director James Mangold’s The Wolverine takes itself seriously and is quite dark. I don’t particularly subscribe to the school of thought that comic book-based films should always have a tongue-in-cheek quality or as many laughs as they do action scenes though. Let’s be honest, funny action/adventures are great for a character like Spider-Man, but this is Wolverine we’re talking about- not exactly the happiest of guys. While I don’t have a problem with the tone of The Wolverine, I do have some other issues with Wolvie’s latest.

The plot here focuses on classic Wolverine villain Silver Samurai (sort of) and the state of the clawed hero after the events seen in director Bret Ratner’s disastrous X-Men 3: The Last Stand. If you didn’t see that one (lucky you), Logan killed an insane Jean Grey who had kinda-sorta become Dark Phoenix. This event left the now ex-X-Man a mess who can’t even stand to live with himself, let alone anyone else. He talks to the ‘ghost’ of Jean often though and has also sworn off of killing, a vow that lasts about two minutes in the movie.

As you could probably tell, there are more than a few choices that were made for The Wolverine that I honestly just don’t get; Logan’s short-lived vow (which is broken with no fanfare) among them. Other mysteries include but are not limited to (and I’m trying not to give away too much here) : choice of villains, screen time for said villains (one in particular) and Wolverine losing one of the coolest things about the character as well as how he loses it. That last one might just be goofier (considering what’s lost) than the adamantium bullet from the first film.

The Wolverine isn’t all bad though. Although I thought that the supporting cast was relatively weak, Hugh Jackman is typically excellent as the title character and some of the special effects are downright fantastic. The Silver Samurai is really something to see too and the action scenes are terrific overall. The only exception to that one is a scene that includes a beyond silly plot device (that I mentioned above) that’s never really even explained.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one I mean.

Final Thoughts

Basically, I love comic books, so for me The Wolverine is still a very watchable flick. Even with all the negatives it’s still a movie based on Wolverine and the X-Men sub-universe, so it’s still fun to watch.

It’s not, by any means, one of the better movies of the Summer (or the year for that matter) and isn’t even in the same league as the excellent X-Men 2, or any one of the other top-tier comic book adaptations that’ve seen release in the last decade. In the end, I’m probably being a little too hard on The Wolverine just because it could have been so much better. As it is, it’s more or less just an appetizer to hold fans over till 2014’s release of the Bryan Singer-helmed X-Men: Days of Future Past. That’s to say it’s somewhat enjoyable, but an ultimately unsatisfying experience in the end.

Oh, and just a tip, although I probably don’t even have to say it, if you do go to see The Wolverine (which, if you’re a Marvel fan, you’re probably going to), stay for the mid-credits scene. It’s nothing Earth-shattering, but it’ll get you even more excited for next Summer’s Days.

About Jason Micciche

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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