REVIEW: The Wolverine (2013)

Release Poster - 20th Century Fox
Release Poster – 20th Century Fox

The following is a spoiler-filled review of The Wolverine – Directed by James Mangold

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was an unnecessary, bloated mess of a film that managed to – not just butcher the Deadpool character – but also harm the legacy of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. In 2013, James Mangold managed to restore Jackman’s legacy with an exciting chapter in that character’s story. So, today, in anticipation of the release of James Mangold’s Logan, I want to do a spoiler-filled review of Mangold’s first film about Wolverine.

In The Wolverine, Logan is still very much haunted by his past and he has become a loner. He walks around aimlessly and one day stumbles upon a bear that has been shot by a poison arrow. When Logan is forced to put it out of its misery, he tracks down the hunters that have shot the bear to get revenge for it.

In doing so, he meets Yukio (played by Rila Fukushima) who tells him that an old friend of his wants to meet with him in Japan. Logan reluctantly agrees to travel to Japan, and when he meets his old friend he’s offered a chance to lose his healing ability and die like a real human being. To be put out of his misery.

What I love about The Wolverine is that I still feel it paints the right picture of the X-Men series’ leading man, and that Hugh Jackman, perhaps, has never been better in the role. Logan is a haunted individual that has seen multiple friends and family members die as he has been forced to go on for years, decades. The film opens with one of these individuals that Logan kept from harm many decades ago. The Nagasaki sequence is still my favorite X-Men sequence put on screen.

And, really, this film has so many sequences that would’ve only been better if the filmmakers had the opportunity to welcome the violent nature of their character. I adore the first act of this film, and the second act isn’t bad either. There are so many solid sequences in this film.

But although I do love Mangold’s The Wolverine, I do have some issues that keep it from being one of my favorite X-Men films. I do think it’s a bit of a problem that this film inexplicably sort of stands in the middle of two X-Men timelines. Although I do think the Jean Grey dream sequences work quite well, I do think it’s a problem that it sort of has to refer back to X-Men: The Last Stand in both the film and the mid-credits scene, which, frankly, doesn’t make any sense as a continuation of Xavier’s story or as a teaser for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

I have significant problems with the final act, which turns a thrilling and intelligent X-Men spin-off film into another cartoonish chapter in the series. The giant CGI samurai fight is just awful to watch and had the first two acts not been as great as they were, this final sequence might’ve ruined the movie for me. I also think that Dr. Green – Viper – sticks out like a sore thumb. She doesn’t fit in this world. She doesn’t fit in this chapter of Logan’s story.

8 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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