This summer has been full of superheroes fighting evil and standing up for good, but out of all of them, The Wolverine stands alone. Unlike Superman, The Lone Ranger, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, Wolverine has been played by one actor only, Hugh Jackman, who at this point has Wolverine down to a perfect science. Here in The Wolverine he’s once again proven he is the best at what he does. Directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line), The Wolverine finds out savage hero sometime after the events of X3. Logan travels to Japan, where he engages an old acquaintance in a struggle that will have lasting effects. Logan must then battle deadly samurai as well as his inner demons.
Now we have to discuss the disaster that was 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A movie so bad that it made X3 look like a masterpiece. Whereas that movie was one giant mess with no direction or thought, The Wolverine stands miles above it as a great movie with fun action, great acting, and an awesome story that seems to meld the comics and the past movies into a great story that will move us into next years X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Not much more can be said about Hugh Jackman at this point when it comes to him playing Wolverine. He has been playing him so long I’m sure the character of Logan is now a part of him. I think that’s why it works so well. Jackman is getting older, granted he doesn’t look it, but never the less he’s getting older and he can’t play Wolverine forever… or can he? We shall see what happens in the future films, but for right now, in this movie it’s the best we’ve seen him play our hero since X2. He kicks some major ass in this, fighting jerk hunters, samurai, ninja, and himself. Jackman makes this character come to life.
The cast of characters in The Wolverine for the most part have a comic book counterpart that have been used for many years anytime Logan goes back to Japan for his many adventures. The filmmakers manage to make good use of them in the movie. Their appearances feel motivated and not just dropped in for some fan appeal. Anyone who has read Wolverine or X-Men for years knows these characters, so it was nice to see them handled well.
The Silver Samurai, who has been a pain in Logan’s ass for years, is given a slightly different treatment in the movie. I think it was an odd change, but it didn’t take me out of the picture once. His character works organically into the story they’re telling so it isn’t a shock at all that it isn’t the comic book villain we have come to read for years. But the effects of the Silver Samurai look great. He is a force to be reckoned with and definitely gives our hero a fight he will remember forever.
The effects in the movie were done really well. The mix of CGI and practical worked well this time around, learning from the mistakes in the infamous CGI claws in the first movie. I’m sure there were CGI claws in this too, but they never felt out of place like last time. The train fight scene was full of fun effects and great action that kept you on the edge of your seat. As does the final battle, which starts with tons of ninjas and ends with explosive consequences, which I can’t wait to see handled in the future films.
I had no care or hope for this movie. Because of X3 and the last Wolverine film, I went into this with very low expectations. And maybe that’s why I enjoyed it so much, but it’s hard to say so because at its core, this is a damn good flick. It’s fun and action packed from the start and sets up the next X-Men flick so well that I’m already excited for that, and now I have to wait a year. Word to the wise: after the movie, keep your ass there. I don’t want to say it’s the best part of the movie, but it’s the best part of the movie for me. This is a great flick, go out this weekend–go to the comfort of an AC filled theater–and enjoy the hell out of The Wolverine.