The Wolverine (2013)

The X-Men films have been a bit of a mixed bag, reaching a particular low point in 2006 with X-Men: The Last Stand. Luckily producers decided to give Wolverine his own series distancing him from the other X-Men films and finally dropping the ‘X-Men’ from the title. While X–Men Origans: Wolverine wasn’t spectacular in anyway, it did however prove that the X-Men series, particularly Wolverine, still had life left in it.

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) fighting a CGI Samurai ...
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) fighting a CGI Samurai …

Sporting a new director, James Mangold, Walk the Line (2005) and 3:10 to Yuma (2007), this new Wolverine film heads for a different setting and possibly a new direction. Based on the popular Japanese Saga in the Wolverine comics, Wolverine (Huge Jackman), still mourning the loss of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), is hiding out in the Canadian wild when he is tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) and summoned to Japan by his old acquaintance, tech tycoon Yashida (Hai Yamanouchi) who offers Wolverine a chance at mortality in exchange for his healing powers. When Yashida unexpectedly passes away, his granddaughter Mariko Yashida (Tao Okamoto) is targeted by members of the Yakuda. Destined to discover why Mariko has been pursued, Wolverine becomes embroiled in an unknown world as he faces not only lethal samurai, but also his inner-demons.

As you’d expect, Hugh Jackman gives a solid performance as Logan/ Wolverine, he’s played the character six times already, so it almost feels like it’s second nature to him, although, Jackman believes that in this film, he finally reached the physique that he always envisioned in his mind that Wolverine should have, (hence all the shirtless scenes possibly). Be that as it may, the film’s most interesting character is the evil toxic mutant Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), who is severely underutilized as she only appears in a handful of scenes, most of which are shown in the trailer; while Yukio (Rila Fukushima) is a nice addition to the franchise as Wolverine’s unlikely ‘bodyguard.’

Wolverine (Jackman) with the evil Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova)
Wolverine (Jackman) with the evil Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova)

If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re after, The Wolverine does have some chilling action sequences, but most feel somewhat choppily edited due to censorship reasons, (the film is quite violent for a superhero-type flick, albeit we are promised an uncut version when it’s available on blu-ray later on in the year). Director Mangold also does a credible job of keeping the whole thing feeling fresh and somewhat believable but drops the ball on certain instances, particularly when Wolverine temporarily looses his regenerative healing ability, yet he is still able to extrude his ‘claws’ without even scarring his knuckles.

While being far from perfect, The Wolverine is a welcome addition to the X-Men world bringing some new blood to the series, but most importantly, paving the way for the future of the franchise (look out for a short but great scene about two minutes into the film’s closing credits).

3 / 5 – Good

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

The Wolverine is released through 20th Century Fox Australia