This one I recommend.

This one’s worth checking out.

Yukio - major badass.

Yukio – major badass.

Works as a fun comic book film

Works as a fun comic book film

I was not too excited when I first heard that there was another movie about Wolverine coming out. I assumed that we were just gonna get another shoddy X-Men prequel and at best one that ties together X-Men Origins: Wolverine with X-Men: First Class in a brief throwaway scene. I thought that this was going to be a completely useless sequel to X-Men Origins and that I would probably skip seeing it. Then the trailers came out.

It was here that I made the realization that, no, this doesn’t take place before the original X-Men trilogy. The Wolverine is, in fact, the first film in 7 damn years that’s actually a sequel to the first three X-Men movies! When I finally realized this, I became hellbent on getting to see this movie. That day has now arrived.

Hugh Jackman returns as the seemingly indestructable Logan, aka The Wolverine, although his days of donning that mantle are over. Seperated from the other X-Men, he spends most of his time walking around the woods aimlessly, looking like an angry Jesus and sometimes having nightmares about the dead Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), whom Wolverine had to destroy whilst she was under the influence of The Phoenix. But one day he meets a Japanese red-headed battle chick named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who gets him to follow her to the home of her dying step-grandfather, Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), a wealthy man whose life Logan saved during the Nagazaki bombing in 1945. He offers Logan to rid him of his immortality and take this gift for himself, which Logan refuses shortly before Yashida draws his final breath.

Yashida’s death results in danger for his granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), since his will clearly states that she would inherit his massive company after his death. Chased by the forces of Mariko’s corrupt father (Hiroyuki Sanada) and a cheesy villain named Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) Logan protects Mariko as they trek through Japan together, all whilst Logan feels that somehow his powers are diminishing. Another villain we get to see is The Silver Samurai, but he may be a little too, how you say, “post-Iron Man” than fans are used to.

Silver Samurai vs. Wolverine.

Silver Samurai vs. Wolverine.

The film is directed by James Mangold, and even though it is a stark improvement over X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there were some things I didn’t like. The character of Viper doesn’t add much to the plot and her relatively corny character ventures dangerously close to “Uma Thurman as Posion Ivy” territory at certain times. There is also a twist ending regarding the Silver Samurai and as far as twist endings go, I’ve seen better. Something that is great, though, is the mid-credits sequence which I especially encourage X-Men fans to sit and wait for.

Overall, I’m just glad that we finally got to see them follow-up on the X-Men trilogy. With all the prequels they’ve made over the years it seems like they’ve been attempting to avoid tying up all the loose ends of X-Men 3. Not too long ago, I had little hope that they were ever going to make another X-Men film as a legitmate sequel to the third movie,  but with The Wolverine and the upcoming Days Of Future Past, it seems like the time has finally come for the story to not only continue, but do so in an epic if rather confusing fashion. So many things will come together and so many things will go down.

The Wolverine is only the beginning of all that. As a whole, it’s not a perfect movie, but it delivers yet another  top-notch performance from Hugh Jackman as well as the lesser-known Japanese supporting actors, some greatly exhilerating fight scenes, a multitude of cool Asian-inspired designs and interesting build-up for things to come. Also, seeing ultimate badass Wolverine get weaker is pretty fascinating to watch. Basically, as far as comic book movies go, it supposedly delivers just as much as it needs, but I believe it could have been even more impressive in some respects. See my comment about Viper above.

My only major problem with watching The Wolverine was the people I had the misfortune to share the movie theatre with. These included a geeky motor mouth who would point out unimportant things as they were happening on screen and then chuckle afterwards as if these unimportant things were supposed to be funny, and a person of indistinguishable sex laughing even louder at things that actually were pretty funny. I suppose that was the annoyance I had to settle with as compensation for my choice to avoid seeing this film in 3D.

Also, Stan Lee doesn’t have a cameo in this movie. 0/5. Nah, just kidding. It’s a solid 3.

3/5 whatever

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