A Good Slasher Flick – A review of The Woverine
Title: The Wolverine
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Run Time: 126 minutes
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen
Summary: Hugh Jackman once again steps into the role of Logan, one of the most iconic superhero legends of all time. And he’s better than ever in this installment.
If you include the brief uncredited cameo appearance in ‘X-Men: First Class’, This marks Hugh Jackman’s sixth appearance as the iconic brooding mutant Logan, otherwise known as The Wolverine. And this is a must see movie for any fans of comic book movies.
More serious in tone than the first Wolverine and even the other appearances in the X-Men franchise, this story begins with our hero brooding over the loss of his love, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and his desire to join her in death, despite his immortality.
An old acquaintance, a Japanese soldier who Logan once saved from an A-bomb during World War II, is dying and wishes to offer him a gift unlike any other – mortality. It’s a tempting offer for a man who has lived many lifetimes over the previous 200 years.
Whether he would seriously agree to the proposal or not, Wolverine finds himself afflicted by the “cure” and, thusly, he battles not only the many evildoers who seek to kill him, but the very potential death that he has managed to elude throughout his lifetime.
This is one of the major strengths of this movie and is very reminiscent of this summer’s first superhero blockbuster, Iron Man III where Tony Stark also had to battle his inner demons to save himself and the woman he loves.
When superheroes lose a key part of their strength, it makes for much better storytelling, since the normally invincible hero must deal with his own shortcoming in order to move forward and it makes his triumph all the more satisfying.
Here, the proof is in the battles. Instead of moping around and giving in to his newfound situation, Logan throws himself into the adventure, battling to save not only his own self, but the beautiful women who have become part of his life.
Lady Mariko (Tao Okamoto) is the vulnerable damsel in distress and the granddaughter of the soldier Logan saved. She is destined to inherit the company her grandfather started, if she can survive the attempts to kill her.
And then there’s the oddly hair colored Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who is tasked with bringing Wolverine back to Japan. She may look as innocent as Mariko, but don’t be fooled. She is as fierce a warrior as our claw wielding hero and is perfectly capable of defending herself in a fight.
The story moves swiftly and occasionally delves into the ludicrous and incredulous. One case in point is the gravity defying battle between Logan and a assassin on board and on top of a swiftly moving bullet train. My suspension of disbelief was sorely tested by this fight, but as distracting as it was, it doesn’t detract from the story’s overall impact.
Hugh Jackman is just the right actor to play this iconic role. He is capable of believably carrying the action sequences, yet has the acting chops to also deliver home the emotionally impacting dialogue that we’ve come to expect from this newest generation of hard-hitting epics based on an infamous 4-color monthly medium that was previously misdefined as being solely for kids.
Oh, and to those interested, stay for the credits – there’s yet another appropriately timed Easter egg that will whet the appetites of fan-boys and appreciative moviegoers alike for next summer’s anticipated blockbuster teaming of young and old X-Men in ‘Days of Future Past’.
This has been a summer of highs and lows, but at this point in July, it’s time for another well-placed blockbuster to put our movie going experiences back on track. I give ‘The Wolverine’ 4 out of 5 stars.