The Wolverine is loosely based on what many consider one of the greatest Wolverine stories of all time. A mini-series by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont published in 1982, in which Logan returns to Japan to help a friend and ends up battling a crime lord. The story succeeded because it was our first real look at Wolverine outside of the of the X-world.
Still mourning the death of Jean Grey, Logan becomes a homeless drifter who sleeps in the woods in order to avoid human contact. He’s lured back into civilization by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a fellow mutant who works for a wealthy Japanese tech mogul named Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi). Yashida, whose life Logan saved during the bombing of Nagasaki, is on his hi-tech death bed, but he’s not ready to die just yet. Having found a way to transfer Logan’s healing abilities to himself, Yashida offers to lift the burden of immortality from Logan’s glistening deltoids, but Logan refuses the old man’s offer.
After Yashida’s funeral is crashed by yakuza gunmen, Logan decides to stick around Japan to protect Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto). He fights a lot of ninjas and, with Yukio at his side, eventually faces off with a mutant called Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) and the towering Silver Samurai.
The film does a lot of things right, and is a dramatically better movie that horrible (lets all pretend it never happened) Origins movie. The story is ok but It’s missing a good villain. All superhero movies need a good villain and there just wasn’t one here. Viper was forgettable as were Shingen, Harada and Yashida. The final reveal with the Silver Samurai is meant to be a shocking twist that is really a 2 out of 10 on the shocking scale.
The action scenes were great especially the bullet train sequence, though some fight scenes were too muddy and shot way too close to really see any of the action. This is obviously due to the studio wanting to keep the age rating down. Wolverine will never truly live up to his character’s savage potential trapped in a PG-13 rating. Still, everything is much better organised than past films, so The Wolverine continues to look good by comparison.
Ultimately, this is a fun movie; with a decent examination of The Wolverine’s inner workings and gives us a look at his connections to Japan, while redeeming many of the failures of Origins. 7/10.