Starring: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima
Director: James Mangold
Running Time: 126 mins
The Wolverine is an American film following Logan as he travels to Japan to meet the man whose life he saved during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945. However, when he discovers that the successors to the man’s business empire are involved with unknown parties, he becomes embroiled in a dark and violent family conflict, all the while confronting his inner demons
Well, in comparison to the last Wolverine solo movie, it’s a delight to say that The Wolverine is a big improvement. It’s still not a particularly stunning or memorable movie, but it does a great job at being an entertaining and often even interesting superhero blockbuster throughout, complete with great performances, good action and impressive visuals.
When it all comes down to it, that’s what I want to see from a Wolverine movie. Whilst there’s always a possibility for something more dramatic, I’m perfectly satisfied with something that’s enjoyable and passes two hours well. It could be a lot more, and definitely doesn’t deliver on the more original and intelligent parts of its story, but I had a great deal of fun watching this movie, and that was just enough for me.
The main reason that the film is such an entertaining watch is largely due to its more theatrical, comic-book like plot. The main crime-thriller story here sits closer on the edge of ridiculous 90s superhero movies, rather than the more modern genre established by the X-Men series throughout the 2000s. That’s not to say it’s campy and idiotic, because that’s not the case, but with dark family rivalries, poisonings, lizard things and all sorts, the more fun-loving nature of the main plot helps to make this a much more entertaining watch.
Another plus here is the directing. Apart from the fact that the entire film is much brighter and more dynamic than the drab X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the action is shot far better, with less shaky cam and a lot swifter camerawork, the CGI looks much more realistic, and it doesn’t have the vibe of a straight-to-video movie. The Wolverine is a blockbuster, and it acts just like that, which I thought was great to see.
And of course, Hugh Jackman is great in the main role. Just as cool as ever as Logan, but also managing to match that hero quality by bringing some interesting drama to the character, making for some intriguing moments that go beyond the main superhero story.
Now, I can’t say that the drama here is a huge success. Jackman does a great job to make it as convincing as possible, and some of the focus on Logan’s inner turmoil is relatively interesting to see, however the dramatic intrigue that’s meant to match the blockbuster entertainment doesn’t always come off, and alongside the more ridiculous and fun-loving superhero story, it just isn’t that effective, which was a shame to see.
But then again, a film that’s almost entirely focused on being a fun superhero movie isn’t the most memorable. Yes, The Wolverine is a fun movie, and it felt like two hours relatively well spent, but it’s definitely not the be all and end all of the genre, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.3 overall.