Wolverine and the X-Men are some of the most beloved characters in comic book history. Their powers combined with the team work aspect and some great villains have proved to be success for readers and with their more cinematic endeavors (mostly). In 2009, Wolverine got his own movie with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and that was anything but successful. Now it’s four years later and his second attempt at a stand alone movie is aptly titled The Wolverine. With promising trailers and marketing, which include some excellent posters, I thought that nothing could go wrong. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Taking place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is living in seclusion in the forest outside of a small American town. Haunted by his past with Xavier’s team of mutants, the loss of his beloved Jean Grey, and the constant struggle of the life that he has been living, he feels the desire to live a normal life. This wish seems to be granted when he is picked up by the mysterious mutant Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and brought Japan to meet with her boss and mentor, Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi). During World War II, Wolverine saved Yashida’s life and now that he is dying, Yanshida wants to return the favor. Unfortunately for Wolverine and Yashida’s grand daughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto) there are people who want Wolverine and his adamantium for mysterious reasons, and they won’t stop until they succeed.
I’m pretty convinced that 20th Century Fox released this movie just so we had something to hold us over until Days of Future Past is released. This does not feel like an X-Men movie at all. It could be argued that it is strictly a Wolverine story, but there are so many tie ins to the trilogy that it still has to be considered part of the canon that the previous movies have established. Jean Grey does pay Logan some visits in his dreams, and that’s pretty cool the first time it happens, but to keep having him get knocked unconscious and fall asleep multiple times just so we can have these scenes feels like overkill of a good idea. That’s a petty complaint, and just the start of a long list of reasons why The Wolverine is a major disappointment.
I will say that this movie does have some pretty cool scenes, but I’m not saying that it’s a pretty cool movie in the least. A few scenes doesn’t make up for the rest of the movie. The scene on the train is a great action sequence that reminded me a lot of the climax of the first Mission: Impossible movie. The other cool part starts with Wolverine having an issue with a handful of ninjas and ends with a duel with the Silver Samurai (who gets incredibly poor treatment in this movie, and may be as big a disappointment to me as the Mandarin in Iron Man 3). Unfortunately, that’s about it. The first big action sequence that is really supposed to hook the viewer is so shaky that it made me nauseous. There were times when the camera man wasn’t even running after the action, and the camera was still shaking! Come on. That’s just stupid film making.
Finally, let’s talk about the story. So much potential is had here, especially with Wolverine losing his regenerative ability for some time. Nope. Wasted. Wolverine is shot and beaten, and the only thing that really happens is that he needs to chill for a few seconds and maybe take a nap. Great, so all of that potential suspense is totally lost. It would have been great seeing Wolverine try a new approach to taking down his enemies than just doing what he usually does and flail and stab about until they are all dead. It would have been awesome to see him adopt a more ninja-like style, using stealth and surprise. Also, there is a romance in this movie. Why, oh why? It really makes no sense to have it there and it has absolutely no bearing on the story a whole. It just slowed down an already slower than need be movie.
So all The Wolverine really did was bore me silly. There is a scene during the credits that is absolutely necessary viewing, and is definitely a lot better than the movie itself. Major lore was changed in a way that was really stupid, there was a romance that felt forced, and the story was just wasted. There are other movies out there to see that are infinitely better than The Wolverine. Die hard fans may want to see it because it’s the newest movie in the X-Men universe, but don’t expect anything particularly good. I hate saying this about movies, but this one was just stupid.