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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 Squalleon

Didn't expect much from this movie.
Shame, the X men franchise needs a good movie.

Posted by Vance Astro

3 out of 5 isn't bad.

Moderator Online
Posted by AllStarSuperman

I want to see it.

Posted by ImagineMan16

I probably won't see it in theaters, but its a definite rent.

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

Oh well :- \

Edited by Iron_Turtle

All I really want to know is.....

Did they take a massive steaming dump on the Silver samurai?

Because he is the only thing I may see this movie for.

Posted by KryptonSabbath

Didn't expect much from this movie.

Shame, the X men franchise needs a good movie.

Too bad Fox has the rights to it because I think Marvel Studios would do yea heluva good job with it.

Posted by Meteorite

I was wondering whether or not I should go see this, and after this review, I think that I'll worry about it when it comes out on DVD.

Online
Posted by Squalleon

@kryptonsabbath: I don't think Marvel is the only one who makes good movies.
It's just that fox doesn't really try to improve the franchise.They make movies just so they don't lose the rights.

All I really want to know is....

Did they take a massive steaming dump on the Silver samurai?

Big samurai robot

Edited by TheAcidSkull

Better than iron man 3

Great Movie, really liked it

Posted by LordRequiem

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

Posted by The Stegman

I literally had no interest in seeing this movie, I don't really care for any of the X-Men films, they just seem so...hollow, just generic action flicks, they don't even have some of the heart that the Marvel Studios films have. Jeremy Jahns, who is really the only reviewer I even listen to, gave this a good score...then again, Jeremy gave Iron Man 3 a good score too so I'm starting to doubt his opinions.

Posted by YoungDoctor

I've not long got back from it and I liked it and loved the mid credits sequence.

Posted by Surkit

Thaaats what I go to see a movie about a man with knives in his hands for-- the laughs.

Posted by maxicere

I think X-Men franchise need a reboot from long time ago.

Posted by War Killer

The fact that Wolverine is never able to go full on violence is something I feel harms the character in a sense. I know we can't have gore and the like in a PG-13 movie, but I still feel that it makes Wolverine appear less threatening when he stabs a person only for the to simply fall down, as if they weren't just slashed by three unbreakable claws of steel.

I'm glad to know this continues on from X-Men: The Last Stand as I feel they better explained Wolverine's past (in X2) without fully explaining it, giving you an idea of what lead to the transformation into the man he is today, but still keeping that mystery that surrounded the character for so many years.

Hopefully, this will simply be seen as a continuation of the original X-Men trilogy and not simply a Wolverine movie, giving it the idea that it's part of a bigger world and plays a role in building Fox's X-Universe they're trying to build. And despite the negative points, I still feel that if it's better than the monstrosity of X-Men Origins, I will be happy.

Posted by k4tzm4n

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

Then I guess a lot of people have problems.

All I really want to know is.....

Did they take a massive steaming dump on the Silver samurai?

Because he is the only thing I may see this movie for.

Let's just say there may or may not be a sentence addressing my thoughts on Harada without flat out saying his name in the review.

Staff
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Well it didn't take long for the "herp derp Mavul should get da rights back" brigade to turn up

Edited by k4tzm4n

The fact that Wolverine is never able to go full on violence is something I feel harms the character in a sense. I know we can't have gore and the like in a PG-13 movie, but I still feel that it makes Wolverine appear less threatening when he stabs a person only for the to simply fall down, as if they weren't just slashed by three unbreakable claws of steel.

I'm glad to know this continues on from X-Men: The Last Stand as I feel they better explained Wolverine's past (in X2) without fully explaining it, giving you an idea of what lead to the transformation into the man he is today, but still keeping that mystery that surrounded the character for so many years.

Hopefully, this will simply be seen as a continuation of the original X-Men trilogy and not simply a Wolverine movie, giving it the idea that it's part of a bigger world and plays a role in building Fox's X-Universe they're trying to build. And despite the negative points, I still feel that if it's better than the monstrosity of X-Men Origins, I will be happy.

Then prepare to be happy :D

Staff
Edited by SavageDragon

I will be seeing this the day it comes out.

Posted by War Killer

@k4tzm4n said:

@war_killer said:

The fact that Wolverine is never able to go full on violence is something I feel harms the character in a sense. I know we can't have gore and the like in a PG-13 movie, but I still feel that it makes Wolverine appear less threatening when he stabs a person only for the to simply fall down, as if they weren't just slashed by three unbreakable claws of steel.

I'm glad to know this continues on from X-Men: The Last Stand as I feel they better explained Wolverine's past (in X2) without fully explaining it, giving you an idea of what lead to the transformation into the man he is today, but still keeping that mystery that surrounded the character for so many years.

Hopefully, this will simply be seen as a continuation of the original X-Men trilogy and not simply a Wolverine movie, giving it the idea that it's part of a bigger world and plays a role in building Fox's X-Universe they're trying to build. And despite the negative points, I still feel that if it's better than the monstrosity of X-Men Origins, I will be happy.

Then prepare to be happy :D

I will now! ^_^

Edited by Sleepbutnodream15

The Silver Samurai looked kinda dumb in the trailer. And though I am an X-Men fan, I haven't really liked any of their films--aside from First Class, which I loved! Anyway, I kinda want to see this just for the Mid Credit scene.

Edited by SimonM7

@war_killer said:

The fact that Wolverine is never able to go full on violence is something I feel harms the character in a sense. I know we can't have gore and the like in a PG-13 movie, but I still feel that it makes Wolverine appear less threatening when he stabs a person only for the to simply fall down, as if they weren't just slashed by three unbreakable claws of steel.

I'm glad to know this continues on from X-Men: The Last Stand as I feel they better explained Wolverine's past (in X2) without fully explaining it, giving you an idea of what lead to the transformation into the man he is today, but still keeping that mystery that surrounded the character for so many years.

Hopefully, this will simply be seen as a continuation of the original X-Men trilogy and not simply a Wolverine movie, giving it the idea that it's part of a bigger world and plays a role in building Fox's X-Universe they're trying to build. And despite the negative points, I still feel that if it's better than the monstrosity of X-Men Origins, I will be happy.

You'll be extra pleased to know that there's apparently gonna be an unrated version when it comes out on Blu Ray.

Source:

THE WOLVERINE Will Receive "Bloodier" Unrated Cut Says Director James Mangold

Posted by CaptainHoopla

I actually think Jackman is a solid casting choice as Wolverine, it's not his problem if the writing and directing are bad or mediocre at best.

Posted by War Killer

@simonm7 said:

@war_killer said:

The fact that Wolverine is never able to go full on violence is something I feel harms the character in a sense. I know we can't have gore and the like in a PG-13 movie, but I still feel that it makes Wolverine appear less threatening when he stabs a person only for the to simply fall down, as if they weren't just slashed by three unbreakable claws of steel.

I'm glad to know this continues on from X-Men: The Last Stand as I feel they better explained Wolverine's past (in X2) without fully explaining it, giving you an idea of what lead to the transformation into the man he is today, but still keeping that mystery that surrounded the character for so many years.

Hopefully, this will simply be seen as a continuation of the original X-Men trilogy and not simply a Wolverine movie, giving it the idea that it's part of a bigger world and plays a role in building Fox's X-Universe they're trying to build. And despite the negative points, I still feel that if it's better than the monstrosity of X-Men Origins, I will be happy.

You'll be extra pleased to know that there's apparently gonna be an unrated version when it comes out on Blu Ray.

Source:

THE WOLVERINE Will Receive "Bloodier" Unrated Cut Says Director James Mangold

Now I'm even more excited. Thanks for the heads-up! :D

Posted by GreenArrow4924

@k4tzm4n: After the Wolverine fans maul you for not giving it a 5 out of 5 can I use your Kaine avatar?

Edited by Mild_Karl

I wish there were more comic book movies like this- stand-alone tales that are only tangentially related to the films released prior. Once you stick to canon, you're bound to canon throughout, unless you're Fox where you just say "screw it" and make an X-Men: First Class which contradicts and backs up continuity as it sees fit (which made the film kind of infuriating, to be honest). Dredd kinda works the same way- you don't have to sit through an excruciating origin story to get to the good stuff.

Imagine a stand-alone Hulk (or insert favorite hero here) movie . No origin bull, just a compelling tale and fun action. I think it'd be cool.

Posted by TheHeat

Better than iron man 3

Great Movie, really liked it

And better than MOS as well.

Posted by Teerack

3/5 stars... how expected.

Posted by xrs10

It is seriously better than this review, saw it today and it beats IM3 and MOS

Posted by Lone_Wolf_and_Cub

IGN gave it an 8.5

Posted by lilben42

Cool. I am excited to see this.

Posted by Wolverine08

Still seeing it. This movie looks awesome, and I think it'll be better than both IM3 and MOS.

Edited by z1co80

I gave it a 7/10, It was good. the action scenes were decent with a couple of very good ones, Yukio and Logan were very good but the Viper was pretty weak as was the final Silver Samurai battle.

I came away thinking that i felt something was missing.

All in all, not as good as Man of Steel and better than Iron Man 3.

Edited by dbatdog

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

Posted by heroesgold

I was hoping this movie would be better to be honest, this wasn't that great of a movie, hopefully X-men Days Of Future Past will be spectacular!

Edited by RulerOfThisUniverse

Well that's dissapointing.

Edited by Illuminatus

3/5 for The Wolverine and 5/5 for Man of Steel?

#DCbias #supermanfan

Posted by theTimeStreamer

better than man of steel

Edited by Wolverine08

better than man of steel

Did you get to see it. What would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10.

Posted by Squalleon
Edited by Wolverine08

@squalleon:

The Wolverine comes out tomorrow where I live. So no, I haven't seen it.

Posted by jointron33
Posted by MadeinBangladesh

def not 3/5. I give it 8.5/10

Online
Posted by theTimeStreamer
Edited by Squalleon

@wolverine08: Sorry misunderstood you previous comment :-P

Posted by IrishX

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

Posted by k4tzm4n

@k4tzm4n: After the Wolverine fans maul you for not giving it a 5 out of 5 can I use your Kaine avatar?

Ha! Sure, I'll find a new av tomorrow.

Staff
Posted by dcfox

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.