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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on The Wolverine

TheWolverine

The most famous member of the X-Men returns for this Japan-set solo adventure.  The Wolverine takes place a number of years after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand and begins with Wolverine (High Jackman) having long since left the X-Men and is now living in seclusion, haunted by visions of the late Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).  One day Wolverine is approached by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a Japanese assassin with the mutant ability to see how people die.  Yukio requests that Wolverine accompany her back to Japan to fulfill the dying wishes of technology CEO Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), whose life Wolverine saved during the bombing of Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Yashida offers to cure Wolverine of his mutant healing powers, which would end his burden of seeing everyone he has ever loved die throughout the decades.  Wolverine is reluctant to accept this proposal, but finds his powers suppressed anyway, after an encounter with a mysterious mutant named Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova).  Wolverine soon finds himself on the run with Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who finds herself pursued by the Yakuza, who are trying to prevent her from inheriting the family company.

The Wolverine is loosely based on the much beloved 1982 comic storyline by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.  Unlike the other films in the X-Men film series (including the previous solo outing X-Men Origins: Wolverine), this is very much a standalone side-story for the character of Wolverine, which has little or nothing to do with the X-Men mythos.  In fact, other than Wolverine, Viper, and Yukio, mutants in general don’t really focus much into the plot of the film.  In fact I could almost go on to say that this film is almost like they took the character of Wolverine and dropped him right in the middle of a Japanese Yakuza drama, with some samurais and ninjas thrown in for good measure.

I can definitely applaud The Wolverine for taking some risks with the typical action movie formula.  There are only a handful of true action set pieces in the film, with much of film devoted to Wolverine rediscovering himself after the great loss he experienced in X-Men: The Last Stand.  With his mutant powers weakened for much of the film, Wolverine is able to feel pain for the first time in his life and it leads to a lot of self-discovery for the character, which includes the fact that he begins falling for Mariko.

Even though it does take a backseat for much of the film The Wolverine doesn’t skimp on the action.  One of the signature set pieces of the film is a fight on top of a bullet train, with Wolverine having to use his claws to hold onto the roof.  Then of course there’s the big climax of the film, which has Wolverine facing off against the powerful Silver Samurai, who has armour and swords made from adamantium (the same material as Wolverine’s claws).

With the epic sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past scheduled for next year, it would be understandable if The Wolverine got put on the backburner as a result.  That said, with so many comic book movies being made, which always seem to be setting up a sequel, it is a bit refreshing for one to come out that is more or less a standalone story (though there is a scene partway through the credits that shows a sign of what’s to come).  While I’m not sure how the general public as a whole would react to the film, I can say that I enjoyed The Wolverine for changing things up a little bit.

8 | LIKED IT

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).