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Review: The Wolverine

July 25, 2013

wolverine (1)The Wolverine

  • Starring: Hugh Jackman (X-Men), Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada and more.
  • Directed by: James Mangold (Walk The LIne)
  • Synopsis: “Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.”
  • Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, violence, intense fighting and some sexuality.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

Prior to this film, we’ve seen Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine in five films (yes, that includes his cameo appearance in X-Men: First Class) and this, his sixth time in the iconic role, finally provides a character-centric look at the loner X-Man known as “The Wolverine” that X-Men Origins: Wolverine so woefully and pitifully failed to do (and X-Men 3 for that matter). Hit the jump to see my thoughts on this latest look at the ageless Wolverine.

Slicing up the details!

The Wolverinewolverinebanner

Ignoring X-Men Origins: Wolverine is immediately the smartest decision that makers of The Wolverine could have ever made. This film, giving a great perspective on Logan’s history and his constant struggle on two fronts (inter-personally and externally), is the next chapter of the 3-clawed one’s saga and pits our anti-hero not only against multiple enemies, but also against the Silver Samurai, who comic fans may recognize as one of Wolverine’s greatest foes.

Hey! You're not the Silver Samurai!

Hey! You’re not the Silver Samurai!

The Wolverine begins in a great fashion that shows plenty of promise mixing intriguing story with amazing fights, graphics and special effects. That promise, slowly waned from reaching fulfillment as the film continues with intermittent amounts of excitement among multiple seemingly meaningless flashbacks and a multitude of misunderstood enemies and motives. Those looking for a non-stop action flick full of Wolverine just slicin’ and dicin’ may see a slight disappoint as the film attempts to balance itself between the dramatic and the dangerous. 

Don’t get me wrong. The Wolverine contains several action scenes, as expected; and when they are on the screen, they are rather impressive. Ironically, it is not the “mindless action” that brings the film down as much as the pensive storytelling (love story, reflection, mystery and more) and slow pacing.

Watch me do my “Superman!”

That aside. I liked The Wolverine, but it didn’t measure up to any expectations other than to just be better than Origins. As I have mentioned in earlier reviews, one of the major problems with superhero films is that there never really is any ultimate danger. We all know that the hero triumphs. What The Wolverine does, however, is take the danger to some different limits with different surprising outcomes that will undoubtedly play a part in future X-Men films.wolverine-3

Those with GREAT expectations for The Silver Samurai, well, keep your expectations at bay as some may find his inclusion to be nothing greater than the Destroyer in Thor, Galactus in The Fantastic Four 2 and The Phoenix in X-Men 3. This main villain (one of many) offers Wolverine a big challenge and leaves his mark, but will get lost in the mix of villains and does not amount to the same level of threat as, say, Marvel’s favorite bad boy of late, Loki.silver-samurai-wolverine-banner

A mixture of several story lines, characters and looks back, The Wolverine serves more as a stepping stone for future X-Men films and gives a better foundation for the character of The Wolverine, which, if that’s what you are hoping for, then it serves its purpose. It is a must-watch for continuity of understanding in the future of the characters’ universe, but is not much in terms of a standalone film however. The Wolverine seems to reflect my feelings on the character himself: great in a supporting role, but not in a lead role.wolverine

Is it bad for me to tell you that my favorite part of the entire movie was the after-credits scene? Well, that is the case. The character Wolverine is quite the complex conundrum, and so is this movie about him. It has no real plot surprises and ultimately, feels as if it goes almost nowhere until that after-credits scene that, once it shows up, causes fans to just look forward to “the future” and forget the movie overall.

I’m not trying to be tough on this film, but I am calling it as I saw it. You know I always do. The Wolverine was not bad, but it could have been better. As a comic book movie, it blends action and story, just not as successfully as other films or the comics on which it is based. I wonder how it would have turned out had Darren Aronofsky or Guillermo del Toro actually directed it as were early preliminary plans prior to James Mangold being chosen from a list of 8 other possible directors.The-Wolverine-2013-Movie-Banner-Poster

Go see it as a fan and lover of the character. It’s always fun to hear Hugh Jackman yell as Wolverine. (I’m sure he would yell at my score…sorry, Hugh).

My Score: out of 5 stars for The Wolverine (it could’ve been better, but wasn’t horrible)thewolverineteaserposte

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(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)

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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. Ted S. permalink
    July 25, 2013 10:35 pm

    I only skimped through your review since I plan to see it this weekend. I’m still bummed that Aronofsky left the project, his version would’ve been a classic. I hope Mangold kept some of the elements from Aronofsky’s script because I thought it was brilliant. I’m pretty sure Mangold probably made several changes but he kept the story pretty close to the original script, from the trailers I saw anyway.

    Like

    • July 25, 2013 11:47 pm

      Thanks for reading, Ted. You’ll have to come back and let me know what you thought after seeing it.

      Like

      • Ted S. permalink
        July 27, 2013 6:40 pm

        Well just saw it a few hours ago, I think I may have liked it better than you but the last half hour or so was kind of a train wrecked. I liked the fact that they kept it grounded and it didn’t feel like a superhero flick, which Aronofsky’s script was all about. They kept some elements from his version but threw out a lot of what made it a great script. Oh well, let’s hope Days of Future Past will be great.

        Like

      • July 30, 2013 6:40 pm

        I am glad that you liked it better than I. I was curious what you would think. From what I’ve seen for DoFP, it WILL be great.

        Like

    • July 26, 2013 6:36 am

      I agree. I was so looking forward to this movie when Darren Aronofsky was set to direct and totally bummed when he dropped out. Hopefully he is able to come back to do another superhero flick. It doesn’t have to be wolverine but I think him doing a comic based movie would be fascinating. I’m still gonna have to check out The Wolverine. As long as it’s better than Origins or X3 i’ll give it a whirl. Thanks for the write-up T.

      Like

      • July 30, 2013 6:41 pm

        Thanks for reading. It would be fun to see Aronofsky do some type of superhero flick.

        I’d like to see him take on maybe The Punisher reboot…or Deadpool.

        Like

      • July 30, 2013 7:11 pm

        Yea, he was in talks for Batman before Nolan stepped in but the WB thought his take was “too violent.” I don’t think he is willing to dim down his style so hopefully one day he will find producers that are open and willing to take a chance on him.

        Like

  2. July 26, 2013 1:09 am

    Good review T. I had a good time with this flick, but what I really liked is that it stayed grounded in some sense of reality. Not too much, but enough.

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:19 pm

      True enough man. You are right. Sometimes there isn’t a good enough blend.

      Like

  3. July 26, 2013 1:54 am

    Nice review man. I have pretty low expectations for this one, so hopefully will find something to enjoy if I get around to seeing it. Love the Wolverine slicing and dicing vid as well!

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:19 pm

      haha. Thanks. Glad you liked the gif. Hilarious.

      when you get around to seeing it, let me know what you thought.

      Like

  4. July 26, 2013 5:31 am

    Nicely done T. I’m not expecting much from this in all honesty. Hopefully my tempered expectations will help.

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:20 pm

      I do believe that they will man. Thanks for commenting and reading.

      Like

  5. July 26, 2013 7:29 am

    Nice review, T. I’m glad it was better than Origins, but like you say, that’s a pretty low bar to clear. Too bad it didn’t do much more than that. I’ll still check it out eventually though.

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:21 pm

      true enough. But I am still very glad to report that it was better than Origins

      Like

  6. July 26, 2013 12:16 pm

    You’re more generous than me on this one. I haven’t finished my review but I know what my final score would be ;)Yes, the best part IS the after-credits scene, boy was I glad to see those two thespians on screen again!!

    Like

    • July 26, 2013 12:44 pm

      Haha. It ALMOST got a lower score. Almost was a 2.5, but it edged out an extra half a point for the special effects better than Origins. When it comes to superhero movies, this one was still a disappointment. I can’t wait for your review!

      Like

      • July 26, 2013 12:46 pm

        Nah, it was nothing spectacular. I was expecting a much more compelling story but didn’t get that nor the sense of fun.

        Btw, don’t forget to *collect* your award 😉

        Like

      • July 26, 2013 12:48 pm

        I look forward to it and will when I get home! 🙂 thanks so much.

        Like

  7. July 26, 2013 4:09 pm

    The bit where you said that it was better than Origins… that made the decision for me that I don’t need to see this in the cinema. Oh and that the post-credits scene was the best bit! At one point I was wanting to see this, but the onslaught of trailers have just made me weary of it. All the average reviews have done it!

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:22 pm

      haha. True story, the post-credits scene was indeed the best!
      I wanted this to be better. Like I said, for me, it wasn’t bad, but it could’ve been better.

      Like

  8. July 27, 2013 1:01 am

    Good stuff buddy. Just popped up my review and I had a slightly more positive experience. I found this to be surprisingly good and thoroughly entertaining. And I gotta say I like what Mangold brought. The look, the pacing, he impressed me.

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:23 pm

      I’ll be stopping by here shortly my friend. Glad that it was impressive to you. It’s always nice to see different views on films from other fans.

      Like

  9. July 29, 2013 9:30 am

    Good review, and the film was also good and to me nearly great but then that damn robot came near the end and well we all know what happened then 😦

    Annoyingly close to a great wolverine film but good never the less and probably one of the best X-Men films 😀

    Like

    • July 30, 2013 7:24 pm

      I think you hit it right, man. “annoyingly close to a great film”

      thanks for stopping in.

      Like

      • July 31, 2013 1:40 pm

        I think Fox has a serious problem with adapting source material 😦

        Like

  10. August 5, 2013 11:49 am

    You used the quote “mindless action” in quotes, and I don’t know what you mean by that. I hope you dont mean that the action actually is mindless. The train sequence for example is inventive and isnt just hack and slash. Certainly not mindless.

    Like

    • August 6, 2013 8:14 pm

      hey, Ian. Thanks for asking. What I meant by that is that there were moments in the film in which the “mindless action” didn’t really serve too much of a purpose which is okay just not altogether important. I enjoyed the train sequence for sure, but there were some action sequences that were just hack and slash. fun but not much more than that. Some felt, to me, as if it was just filler.

      does that make sense?

      Like

      • August 7, 2013 4:12 pm

        Fair enough.

        Like

Trackbacks

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