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The Wolverine Review

3

James Howlett returns in his second solo film, but is it worth seeing in theaters?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn't a film many of us enjoyed and despite it having a totally different director and set of writers, the previous movie has cast a rather ugly shadow over The Wolverine. Luckily for us, Logan's second film is definitely better than his first, but that isn't saying a lot, is it?

The Wolverine picks up after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. In case you missed it, Wolverine was forced to kill Jean Grey. Plunging his claws into the woman he loved has taken a huge toll on him, forcing him to go into isolation and while he lives in the wild, he strives to avoid conflict. Logan may be an outcast, but one person wants to bring him back into society. Yashida, a man Wolverine saved during World War II, is now dying and wants to give his savior a gift: mortality. Wolverine is flown to Tokyo to hear the dying man's offer and to say any more would be too spoilery, so I'll cut the recap there.

The plot is loosely based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 four-issue series which is simply titled WOLVERINE. And when I say "loosely," I sure do mean it. Yes, it involves a lot of the same names and some scenes are blatantly inspired by the book, but it's massively different. I'm usually cool when it comes to most changes -- after all, they need to keep things fresh -- but they missed quite a few opportunities when it came to some of the more iconic moments from the book (there's a major tease early on but it never delivers the scene you're expecting). Additionally, I didn't appreciate the handling of a certain character. That's sure to only annoy a select few, but it's a character I'm really fond of, so sue me. And naturally, these complaints won't matter if you haven't read the classic series or share my passion for a certain Marvel character.

The story being drastically different than the source material is something I can overlook a vast majority of the time, but the problem here is the new narrative it creates feels like it's striving to be way more complex than it actually is. There's more than a handful of twists thrown our way, but the issue is none of them are actually shockers and I imagine most of you will be able to predict them well before they happen. A generic plot isn't a terrible thing if other factors can outweigh it, but it's worth noting because there's a fair share of moments I thought were downright silly -- the final act in particular had a few. Much to my surprise, there's an awesome amount of humor in the film, too. There's plenty of big laughs to enjoy, so even if you're not all that fond of the plot, odds are this movie will manage to slap a smile on your face a couple of times.

The Wolverine really succeeds when it decides to focus solely on Wolverine's internal struggle. Thankfully, there's a good chunk of that in the movie. Once again, Hugh Jackman does a superb job with the role, delivering the perfect blend of heart and rage. One moment you want to tell him everything will be alright and give him a pat on the back, and the next, you want to keep a safe distance from him or run as far away as you can. The more serious scenes are never enough to get the waterworks going, but it's certainly heartfelt enough at times and that's thanks to Jackman's performance. So if the plot does one thing very well, it would be its handling of the most popular X-Man and how he develops as the journey continues.

While Jackman steals the show and rightfully has a vast majority of the focus, Young Yashida's actor, Ken Yamamura, comes in second place for a short yet strong emotional performance in the opening scene and another flashback. Everyone else does an able job with their roles, too -- even if it is a super campy villain (here's looking at you, Viper).

Earlier action scenes suffer from too much shaky cam (and I'm someone who can usually tolerate a very good amount of that) and it really detracts from the chaos. This movie needs to bring good melees and unfortunately, it misses the mark in some of the early fights. I get the movie can't be too gory and a Wolverine movie certainly doesn't need gore to be good, but it's awkward watching him slice and stab so many goons without any kind of visible damage occurring to them most of the time. That said, they do counter this a few times with some pretty cool shots of blood still on his claws and the aftermath of a door he stabbed through. Additionally, Wolverine is more vicious when it comes to his handling of certain people he encounters, but those actions often take place right outside of our view. Regardless, I'm just happy they occurred, even if we couldn't technically see it.

Director James Mangold delivers big time when Logan finally faces off against a certain character from Claremont/Miller's story. It was without question the best scene the film had to offer and one of Logan's best action scenes yet. For a moment, I thought to myself, "why aren't Wolverine's claws slicing through those swords?" But then I immediately thought, "Shut up and enjoy the best action scene, stupid." (To be fair, they did say they were stockpiling adamantium, so maybe some went to those blades?) And the bullet train sequence? The final cut has better editing than the previously released clip and, despite it being all kinds of ridiculous, it has some truly fun moments that'll likely make the audience erupt in laughter. It's just too bad the finale doesn't have anything on par with these two scenes, but regardless, the two are indeed really enjoyable.

Honestly, 3D isn't worth it unless you want a tad more depth to Jackman's ridiculously jacked body (I wonder how many 3D tickets that line just sold?). The 3D comes off as an afterthought and never added much to the experience. So if you're going to buy a ticket this weekend, I highly recommend saving a few bucks and checking it out in 2D.

If you've been optimistic about the trailers and clips, check this out and hopefully you can pretend this is the only Wolverine solo film that exists. Odds are you won't fall in love with it, but you'll probably dig it way more than his first effort. It does a solid job handling the character and provides at least two crowd-pleasing action scenes. That said, it does also suffer from a pretty weak overall plot and has some fairly questionable moments, especially towards the end. The Wolverine isn't a very bad movie -- it's just not a very good one, either.

Oh, and there is a mid-credits scene and yes, it is ABSOLUTELY worth waiting for. You'll definitely want to stick around for it.

216 Comments
Posted by CaptainGenisVell

Saw it today, so much better than Origins. I don't get why the critics hated it so much, but it did seem to be a truer depiction of Wolverine without the need to slap loads of mutants in.

One thing which is niggling at me, sort of a spoiler....Wolverine's claws are cut off by a heated adamantium blade. Is that even possible?!?

Posted by Wolverine08
@irishx said:

Comicvine rating a Wolverine movie 3 stars means it must actually be 5 stars.

Lol, yes.

Posted by MysteriousUsername

So they screwed up that one character? That sucks he's the reason I was thinking of seeing the film for the most part.

Still nice to hear there's been some improvement. Also I actually assumed this was a prequel, pleasantly surprised it's not.

Posted by WOLVER1NE
Posted by z1co80
Edited by TheIncredibleSuperHulk8642

I loved it I thought it was as good if not better than Iron Man 3 but not as good as Man of Steel a solid 7.8/10 rating from me.

Edited by hobanho

Is this movie worth going to see in theaters??? Like the average comic book nerd has something better to do with two hours of their time??? They can argue over who wins a fight between Mr. Majestic and the Silver Surfer for 26 hours but can't waste two hours to go see The Wolverine?? And I'm sure they will only have to pay for one ticket, since most of us nerds don't have girlfriends. But we can trash the movie for months before it comes out, and for months after it comes it, but still debate whether actually watching it?? This is why people hate comic book nerds.. This is why I hate us. Don't like Wolverine? Well then don't see it. I love Wolverine, and even though I'm nervous about it, I think I can fit it into my busy schedule and my monthly budget.

Edited by bigboi100000

Wonder Woman XXX

Posted by Mild_Karl

@irishx: Since when has CV underrated a film? :p

Edited by johnny_blaze

Some people on here act like everything that Marvel/Disney does with their movies are gold & 100% flawless: Iron Man-Good, The Incredible Hulk-Good, Iron Man 2-Bad Thor-Horrible, Captain America-Mediocre, Iron Man 3-Mediocre, The Avengers-Ok. If you're a REAL X-Men fan, then you would go see this movie.

Posted by tensor

I gave it the same rating, this was just a b movie. I expected more a lot more.Movie fell short big time.

Posted by Emperormeister734

I'll check it out and see what's what

Posted by jeanespinosa21

@the_stegman: that guys reviews are almost always my exact opinions! just he gave iron man 3 a blu-ray when i hated the film other than that he is great!

Posted by The Stegman

@the_stegman: that guys reviews are almost always my exact opinions! just he gave iron man 3 a blu-ray when i hated the film other than that he is great!

I agree. I usually love Jeremy, though we agree every once and awhile

Posted by Barkley

you guys don't like anything....you kinda of a drag...stop giving things grades and just have fun....

Posted by Ama_Sama

I'm going to end up watching this just because I appreciate Jackman's Wolverine. Sure, the man is too tall for the roll, but I think he really embodies the character's personality. It's not his fault that Origins fault, so I'm willing to give the franchise another chance for his sake. Also, if there really will be an "unrated" version on the blu-ray release, a potentially more violent Howlett is something to get excited about.

Posted by Queso6p4

What a shame. I was hoping for a pretty decent movie overall. I'll still see it, of course.

Edited by liztoys

the X-man was so great , I like it very much , I also like iron man as well, yes, it is definitely worth look ing for. I will always stick around for it.

Edited by weaponx

@dcfox said:

Considering Man of Steel got 5/5 and that movie was mediocre at best, I'm guessing we probably won't see eye to on this one either.

That is what I was thinking... and hoping.

IMDB has it at a 7.6 (4 stars), IGN gave it an 8.5 (4.5 stars), heck, even Rotten Tomatoes has it at 66% (3.5 stars). So obviously there is a lot of differing opinions on this. I won't get a chance to see it until Sunday unfortunately. I usually agree with k4tzm4n though! Everyone should go see it for themselves!!!!!

Edited by Shallbecomeabattoo

@iron_turtle: The Slver Samurai you know isn't even in this movie at all, so... yeah, they crap on him.

As I said in another comments section, I would give the film a 6/10.

I really hope this rumored unrated cut gets released and fixes a lot of the mistakes.

Posted by Bayzeo

Great review Gregg! I may actually watch this now! I didnt expect a lot but if its funny whats the harm.

Posted by saoakden

I'm looking forward to seeing this movie.

Posted by nrgb2814

@dbatdog said:

meh, the last good movie marvel did was Spider Man 2.

Now that I think about it... I agree.

Posted by DarklyDreamingDeadpool

wolverine and the whole x-men movie fanchise is dead to me. i hate what they did with logan in the movies (he and jean in love? she's cyclops girl. and then the whole damn out of characterness)

i hate jackman and every damn x-movie so much, as i love the old x-comics!

Edited by LordRequiem

@k4tzm4n: As a comic book fan, I at least want an actor that closely resembles the character in question. And they could not be further from it. This I have always said. Substance is obviously of little concern to you.

Posted by redhood21

The fact that you think Hugh Jackman fits this role is your first problem.

for the last time we're not hiring taylor lautner....i read that danzig was up for the roll back when the first x movie hit...i wonder what that woulda been like. anyway movie was pretty darn good.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WATCH THE POST CREDITS!!! FANBOYRECTION!!!

Posted by Jaydarocknrolla

i will see it. marvel needs to work on making some good animated movies. thats the one area dc beats them everytime.

Posted by Arkhamc1tizen

just as i thought it would be like

Posted by gotwillpower

Not that I'm a huge Wolverine fan, but I'm was more interested watching The Wolverine than I was Man of Steel. It's just, Wolverine actually had feelings that I could relate to, and the story's ending wasn't so obvious. Not that the two movies should really be compared, but I think the fact that Man of Steel got a 5 and this got a 3 makes the comparison relevant.

Posted by andy_117

@dcfox said:

Considering Man of Steel got 5/5 and that movie was mediocre at best, I'm guessing we probably won't see eye to on this one either.

So glad someone here agrees with that. Man of Steel was indeed mediocre at best; actively unpleasant at worst. I'm still reeling that they reviewed Pacific Rim worse than that utter POS - a POS that, incidentally, required a second article explaining that it utterly failed as a Superman film. The one thing it has to exceed at.

Posted by Trevel8182

It's X-Men so I'm gonna see it any way and as some else said you gave Man of Steel a 5.

Posted by alexandrinus

It's actually pretty decent. Of course I was really expecting it to be a rather mediocre movie but found myself enjoying it. The best thing are the funny moments.

Way better than Wolverine Origins and iron man 2 and better than iron man and 3. Still I don't think this is the movie the X-men franchise needed. It needs better.

Posted by DRDOOMSDAY390

disagree with this reviewer the wolverine was a good movie this is why i stop trusting critic reviews sometimes you don't feel the same way as they do when it comes to movies, wolverine deserve abit better then 3 stars, and yet you gave (The Man Of Steel 5 stars? & Iron Man 3) 4 stars? really? both those movies were disappointing with flaws but still give it a higher star rateing? ok it's your opinion however comicvine critic reviews in movies are terrible, i looking forward for kickass 2 and thor dark world.

Edited by LordRequiem

@redhood21: From the trailer alone it looks terrible, but I'll reserve judgement until I have watched it.The fact that Jackman plays Howlett is already extremely detrimental to my view of the entire piece. And Taylor Lautner? How old are you to be so childish?

Posted by Bobsjonjon

Not interested in seeing 6'4 wolverine...X First Class was the only good one. The Xmen franchise is whack cuz of these crappy movies! Avengers assemble and help the Xmen Franchise !!!!!!!

Posted by ekrolo

While it does have some small issues like the romance being somewhat cheesy with the constant glances and some small things that aren't as well explained as they could be, The Wolverine is a very down to earth film that offers us a great look at who Wolverine is, whats it like to be him and how he can find purpose in a life full of tragedy and constant struggle. The action scenes are expertly shot and the fighting choreography is among the best Ive seen all year, all the performances are great with Hugh Jackman's Wolverine being the one that really steals the show and all around its a great film held back by its small problems.

8.5/10 for me

Edited by Willza92

I really enjoyed the film and it manages to justify Last Stands existence with Logans struggle to move past killing Jean and the post credits scene. It has a clear story and arc for Wolverine which was easy to follow and, for me at least, had a satisfying conclusion. The set pieces, especially the bullet train sequence, were just really fun to watch and it even managed to up the ante later on in the film with the heated adamantium swords.

With First Class and this, Xmen films seem to have shaken off the stink of the previous two and it all seems set up to an Avengers style spectacle in Days of Future Past. Note: I haven't read the Miller story so I could only absorb the films story as it was told and had no previous expectations, which is perhaps why I enjoyed it more than Gregg.

You should still go watch it, FOX owes you a good Wolverine film and now you've got one.

EDIT* I only had one gripe with the film that I can remember actually. Did anyone else see Viper pulling her left glove off three times when she meets with Shingen Yashida? I have to imagine some poor editor having a heart attack when he got the dailies for that scene.

Posted by kriminal

I think its a 3 out of 5. but its a strong 3. I also gave iron man 3 a 3 star rating but that was closer to 2.75 and wolverine is more 3.25. so a half star better. I gave man of steel 5 stars. I loved it don't care what anybody says he's my dc favorite character and the got his movie 90% right. I didn't hat origins and my hope was this to be a little better, which it was.

Posted by Oscars94

@mild_karl: I liked X-men:First Class. Sure it wasn't the original 5, but we've seen them already. I really want an Indestructible Hulk film to be made! I also really want to see Dredd.

Edited by k4tzm4n

To the people commenting on the content of the review: you deserve a cookie. I don't care if you think my review is utter garbage and disagree on all points I've made, you're doing awesome work by talking about the movie and its pros/cons and not just how many stars it has.

To the people focused on scores: get over it. 3/5 = 6/10 = "okay," and I thought this movie was just okay. Want to know why? There's some words posted above which kind of explain that. And yes, I loved Man of Steel and believe it or not, that too had words explaining why. Just because you didn't means we won't see eye-to-eye on anything? Seems like an irrational conclusion to make, but you're free to think what you want, I suppose.

Additionally, if you're so focused on scores, you may want to know it currently has an average score of 6.3 on RT and a 59 on Metacritic. But... then again, this will probably go in one ear and out the other since I imagine the people who think scores mean everything are the same people who say "critics are stupid" when they disagree and "look at the scores it's getting!" when they agree.

All in all, just go see the movie and judge for yourself. If you love it, cool. If you hate it, cool. If you agree with me, cool. But no amount of QQ will change my score, will it?

Staff
Posted by papad1992

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WATCH THE POST CREDITS!!! FANBOYRECTION!!!

Can you spoil!?

Edited by k4tzm4n

@bayzeo said:

Great review Gregg! I may actually watch this now! I didnt expect a lot but if its funny whats the harm.

It definitely is funny. It amazes me people think a 3/5 is just ripping on it when it's technically a favorable score.

@mysterioususername said:

So they screwed up that one character? That sucks he's the reason I was thinking of seeing the film for the most part.

I assume you're speaking of Silver Samurai, right? If so, big time.

@queso6p4 said:

What a shame. I was hoping for a pretty decent movie overall. I'll still see it, of course.

Well, a 3/5 is definitely at least decent ;)

Staff
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@k4tzm4n: I suppose it's because pepole are used to seeing 5 * reviews so when they see anything that's below a 4* it = bad

Posted by Pyrogram

I swear Adamantium was rare? It was abundant as F in this film. 3/5 is fair. It was good, but not that good.

Edited by Terro09
Posted by Arinya

Went and saw it last night and I TOTALLY agree with this review. It was waaaaaaay better than the last film. It was fun and emotional but left me wanting alot more.

Edited by theTimeStreamer

uuuu that 5/5 man of steel review coming back and biting you in the a**. at least people now see it was crap.

Posted by k4tzm4n

uuuu that 5/5 man of steel review coming back and biting you in the a**. at least people now see it was crap.

How about no? You're allowed to dislike the movie all you want, but to think a few people citing it here means it's "biting me in the ass" and "people now see it was crap?" Yeah, beyond false. The people who disagreed with me then are still going to disagree with me on it now -- that should be blatantly obvious to anyone and everyone. Not sure if you noticed, but there are more people on this site who enjoyed the film than didn't enjoy it.

Oh look, here's a poll a Viner made which supports that statement.

http://www.comicvine.com/superman/4005-1807/forums/rate-man-of-steel-1473985/

Oh look, here are user reviews which mostly support that, too.

http://www.comicvine.com/man-of-steel/4025-1375/

It's subjective material. Opinions are obviously going to be mixed, but at least I take the time to elaborate on why I hold my opinion. But hey, you're totally free to make all of the baseless statements you want, dude.

@arinya said:

Went and saw it last night and I TOTALLY agree with this review. It was waaaaaaay better than the last film. It was fun and emotional but left me wanting alot more.

Neat-o!

@k4tzm4n: I suppose it's because pepole are used to seeing 5 * reviews so when they see anything that's below a 4* it = bad

Yeah, most likely.

Staff
Posted by theTimeStreamer

@k4tzm4n: i, for one, am not getting paid to do review (no matter how bad my opinion is). you are. so no i am not going to waste my time. and this trend of 'well you just posted blah blah but didnt write a 4 page essay to support it' is pointless. at the end of the day, you will like or dislike a movie no matter how well someone applies logic to prove that you should/shouldnt. taste can NOT be swayed by logic. you can be made to see it's awful sure, but you will still like it. and the opinion of the common man does not interest me. there's a saying in my country: if everybody is jumping off a bridge, should you? most people dont think things through or get swept in the hype or peer presure or whatever. so ok, dude, this is how ultimately ends so i'll skip to the end: i dont like your movie reviews, we disagree, the end. hope you have better taste in comics.