It’s hard to put a finger on what doesn’t work in “The Wolverine.”
Director James Mangold’s film has everything going for it.
It has a great setting—Japan. It’s the birthplace of Karate, so you know that’s going to lead to some pretty awesome fight sequences (and it does).
And, of course, It has a great title character. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), may not be the most polished of the X-Men, but what he lacks in smoothness he makes up for with claws, brute strength and a bit of a loner complex.
Where it loses me is the sub subject matter. The mutants of Marvel are some of my favorite. Their conflict with the “normal” humans makes for some compelling story telling. This conflict and the bigger picture is lost in “The Wolverine.”
Picking up where “X-Men: The Last Stand” (that’s the third one…in the original series) left off,”The Wolverine” finds Logan (aka Wolverine) just as angry and gruff as ever.
Tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), an assassin working for an old acquaintance of Logan, the Wolverine finds himself in Tokyo with an interesting offer on the table — an end to his immortality. From there the story gets a little predictable. There’s a girl (Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida) to save, and in the end everything turns out alright.
The film wisely tries to incorporate more of the X-Men into the story. The post-mortem Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) serves as Logan’s conscience and personal guilt. But her presence comes across as too little too late.
One bright spot, is the introduction of Yukio. Played by Rila Fukushima, she is an assassin with the ability to see into the future (specifically, individuals’ deaths), and serves as a strong moral compass to Wolverine’s anti-hero.
It’s not an awful film, but the moral of the story is that Wolverine just doesn’t work without the X-Men.
…But if you’re an X-Men fan, this one is worth seeing purely for the post credits clip.
…just for fun: