Another summer, another X-Men film. This time around, the superhero franchise shifts gears and once again follows the man with adamantium claws: Wolverine. Despite seeing the character in all the X-Men films, plus after a poor performance of X-Men Origins, Fox continue to push the character to the silver screen. Now in theaters is The Wolverine, a standalone film that captures one of the character’s more prominent stories. Though his prequel fell flat, can the second time be the charm for Wolverine?
After the events of The Last Stand, Wolverine leaves the X-Men to live a solitary existence. However, when a man named Ichiro Yashida ask for Logan to head to Japan, Logan complies. After Yashida offers Logan to remove his healing factor, Wolverine is caught into a plot of murder and must protect Mariko without his healing factor.
The story to The Wolverine has a terrific set up. At its core, the plot was indeed a character driven story for Wolverine as it puts him in a samurai story. While it may not have gone into details like Wolverine learning bushido, there was still an essence of a samurai tale. This was not to say that the story is not without flaws. Details like referencing the X-men would have been nice; and the last act could have been more defined. Still, it was a good story for the character of Wolverine.
It just wouldn’t be Wolverine if Hugh Jackman was not dawning the claws. Though Jackman has played the characters for 13 years, he has managed to keep both the character and his performance refreshing. Aside from Hugh Jackman, performances from Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima stoodout as Mariko and Yukio. It was refreshing to see a cast that was not full of unecessary mutant characters. Yet, if there was any downside to the casting, it would the villains. The grouping of enemies was not bad, but they did not have a major presence in the overall film Aside from that, each character felt right being in this film; even Famke Janssen as Jean(though why she was in a nightgown the whole time was questionable).
We have seen X-Men grace the theaters as action blockbuster; and with its track record, you would think the same for this installment. Surprisingly though, The Wolverine is quite subtle. Instead of being action scene after action, the movie is shot almost like a drama. That is not to say there is no action. When the movie gets to the big-time sequences, they stand out. Among them was the bullet train fight, which felt like something you see from a martial arts film. Needless to say, through its cinematography and action, The Wolverine had a style that certainly stood out from other superhero films.
The Wolverine is not your standard comic-book movie, and for that reason, it is refreshing. While it has some issues, the film was great for the character of Wolverine ;as well as giving the X-Men franchise some variety. While it may not be the defining X-Men film, The Wolverine is certainly a worthy entry into the franchise.