The Wolverine

May 7, 2016 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

I absolutely love Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine. He is such a great actor, it is kind of a shame that this role will be what he is most known for. Hugh Jackman is so good at being Wolverine though. 2013’s The Wolverine comes years after he said he would never play the role again. It will be hard to image anyone else playing Wolverine so I am just going to enjoy it while it lasts. Still, it is kind of amazing that he agreed to come back for Days of Future Past. This was not a very good movie. I wanted to start off with a statement about Jackman to let you know that I am not unbiased. I will freely admit that this movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and X-Men: Last Stand are not very good. But I love them because I love Jackman playing this character. Best I can tell you, it’s like when you like a bad James Bond movie because you like the guy who is playing James Bond. (George Lazenby is the man!)

In this movie, Wolverine goes back to Japan years after serving in World War II at the request of an old friend who is dying, Yashida. He has seen Wolverine’s powers in action and believes that Wolverine’s powers can save his life. Yashida has developed a way to steal Wolverine’s powers and senses that Wolverine has lived too long. He offers Wolverine a chance to die in exact for Wolverine’s healing factor. Wolverine declines for his own reasons. Yashida dies but somehow Wolverine’s healing factor is stolen anyway. Yashida’s funeral breaks out into an exciting action sequence and Wolverine feels obligated to protect Yashida’s daughter, Moriko. Yashida has a doctor, Dr. Green (also known as The Viper) who has the ability to rob Wolverine of his powers, at least for the bulk of the movie. I suspect they originally wanted Charlise Theron for this role because the actress playing the role looks exactly like her.  Wolverine spends most of the movie protecting Moriko or dealing with his missing healing factor. There is also the subplot of Wolverine having trauma dealing with what he had to do with Jean Gray at the end of Last Stand. In the end, Yashida is not dead. Instead, he has become the Silver Samurai. In the end, Wolverine wins but just barely and at a cost.

This movie came off as a travel log of Jackman’s vacation in Japan. There is a lot of the stuff you would expect to see from movie taking place in Japan filmed by Westerners. You have the bullet train, slot machine parlors, Mt Fuji, and other stereotypical things. I don’t know if this was a mistake or not. After all, when our character is going to Japan, you expect to see Japan, and those are the things a Western audiences expect to see. It just struct me as kind of lazy. Granted, I haven’t been to Japan. The cynical part of me doubts what I am seeing. Movies tend to portray Japan as a mix of Blade Runner and the 12th century. It would have been nice if they had at least tried to do something original.

One major problem I had with this movie was the bullet train fight sequence. I thought it looked incredibly fake. It is a difficult sequence to pull off and make look convincing. There were parts I was openly laughing at what I was seeing. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in a theater when I watched this. It looked so much like a video game, it was silly. I am not saying they should have been fighting on a speeding train. I am saying that after they saw that part of the movie in the screening room for the first time, they should have rewrote the sequence, shot a different fight sequence, and left this crap for the DVD extras because it really took me out of the movie. Every other fight sequence, I felt, was very well done. The funeral fight and subsequent chase stands out as being among the most exciting fight sequences in the X-Men movies.  The ending fight scene was well done too. That is what these movies are really all about, action. I would have appreciated if they padded out the rest of the movie with something more original.

The Wolverine was a fine little movie made all the better by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. I would say that if you have not seen the X-Men movies from the early 2000’s, this is not the place to start.  In the pantheon of comic book movies, this one is probably somewhere in the middle. The bullet train stage and base plot probably drag it down a little but over all, it’s not that bad. However, if you happened to miss this one in the grand scheme of X-Men movies, you didn’t miss anything.

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