“The Wolverine” is a solid action film, and the teaser during the end credits alone is worth the price of admission. But with this character, the fanfare of the other big-screen Marvel productions just doesn’t apply. Mix that with a story that involves very few mutants(and even fewer popular ones), and it nearly doesn’t feel like a comic book movie at all. But director James Mangold adds flair to Mark Bomback and Scott Frank’s capable script(which may or may not contain elements from Christopher McQuarrie’s original attempt, back when Darren Aronofsky was attached in 2011), and the result is an entry that the titular X-Man can be proud of.
The film opens with a flashback, when Logan(Hugh Jackman) saves a Japanese soldier from a nuke explosion. Decades later, the man sends his adopted granddaughter out to track Logan down, asking him to come say goodbye. Logan’s charity case is now an old man suffering from cancer, and it appears death is at hand.
Yashida(Hal Yamanouchi) has ulterior motives for meeting Logan. He offers to make Logan mortal again, and right before his doctor returns to insist he goes back to resting, he tells him that his granddaughter is in danger, and needs protecting. This is what sets the chain of action set pieces into motion, as Wolverine and Mariko(the granddaughter) go on the run from the Yakuza.
The plot of “The Wolverine” was apparently taken from a comic book story arc, so page-turning purists may or may not cry foul. Those new to the story(like this reviewer) will find an equal mix of drama and action. Brief moments of humor hit all the right notes, but between Logan’s constant nightmares and his budding relationship with Mariko the viewer might wonder if the emotional aspect will take down the superhero before the actual villain does. Thankfully, “The Wolverine” toes that line gracefully; it is a film determined to be more than just a mindless action flick, and it certainly is.
As the film went on, this reviewer find himself more excited by the prospect of the film ending and seeing what treat was included post-credits than the actual story itself. Not to mention that one key reveal near the end of the film seemed a little too similar to another Marvel movie. But just because a film doesn’t keep the viewer on the edge of his(or her) seat every minute doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. “The Wolverine” is a good movie, Logan’s constant pining for the recently-departed Jean Grey and a silly battle on top of a speeding bullet train aside. Hey, that’s better than leaping off a motorcycle at a helicopter, right?