As the summer movie season of 2013 approached, the two most anticipated comic book movies were “Iron Man 3” and “Man of Steel”. Many seemed to have forgotten, or paid very little attention to the fact that there was one more big superhero movie coming out this summer, “The Wolverine”. This was not a direct sequel to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, as the events in this movie take place after “X-Men: The Last Stand”.
Logan (Hugh Jackman) is not doing too well. He now lives in the mountains and still has nightmares about having to kill Jean Grey when she was possessed by her Phoenix persona. He is summoned to Japan to say goodbye to a man named Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) whom he saved during World War II. Yashida is now a very rich industrialist in the country. He also makes Logan an offer to take away his ability to always heal so he can finally live a normal life. Logan does not believe that can be possible.Logan, however, soon finds his powers of healing have sharply diminished and it could not come at a worst time as he has to face off against the Japanese mob, ninjas, samurai warriors and a new mutant, Viper.
Action is one of the most important elements of a superhero movie. “The Wolverine” has more than enough action sequences in it; however, it is not the best action seen in an X-Men related movie. In fact, you could say there is an aspect of fakeness to it. During pre-production, a stunt coordinator and/or a fight coordinator carefully plots outs all the portions of an action sequence so it can look good for the cameras and keep all those involved as safe as possible. It can be compared to a choreographer mapping out a dance. That’s what a lot of the fights looked like in this movie, choreographed dance moves.
Originally Darren Aronofsky was slated to direct “The Wolverine”; but, that did not pan out and the job ended up going to James Mangold. On paper, this was not a negative, as Mangold has many impressive credits under his name including “Girl, Interrupted”, “Identity” and “Knight and Day”, so it was not like this genre was foreign to him. He’s directed action movies before. They were tension filled and featured good drama. It makes it that much harder to understand why the fight sequences failed to draw people in and keep them on the edges of their seats.
One thing “The Wolverine” contains is plenty of laughs. The movie does not border on being a comedy, but there are some genuine laugh-out -loud moments throughout the picture. James Mangold does take his time building the story and really wants to focus on the internal battle going on within Wolverine. Hugh Jackman knows this role so well, having played it in six movies. Jackman is also a superb actor and he does a great job portraying the demons Logan is facing within. Still, those who are action junkies may feel these parts slow down the movie. When the movie is in danger of being a drag, a good lighthearted scene usually comes to the rescue.
As with most Marvel movies these days under the Disney banner, “The Wolverine” was converted into 3D during post-production. It’s a clean conversion and you won’t feel ripped off if you go see it in that format. At the same time, by not shooting the movie with 3D cameras, the movie cannot take full advantage of the technology. You may have seen a commercial with Logan fighting on top of a bullet train while coming at a bad guy with his claws out in front of him. If 3D cameras were used to shoot that it could have been a great 3D moment with Wolverine coming right off the screen right at the audience, but since it was only a conversion it is only a nice effect. You want to be able to use a better word than “nice” to describe a moment like that.
The folks who saw an advanced screening of “The Wolverine” seemed to like it. There is a post credit scene you MUST stick around to see. Everyone who saw it practically lost their minds after it ended. It is probably the best post credit scene in a Marvel movie since Nick Fury told Tony Stark, “I’m here to talk to you about The Avengers Initiative.” It’s that good! As for the movie itself, it’s better than the last solo Wolverine movie, but not by much. It is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language.