I was not a fan of the original wolverine movie. It was a large departure from the comic book origins and had a huge cast of characters that seemed cluttered and unnecessary. When I saw the initial trailers for The Wolverine, I was not really interested in seeing the next installment of Logan’s story. It was when they introduced the Japanese elements that I became interested again. I loved the story line with Kitty Pride and Wolverine that was set in Japan and hoped for something similar out of this. The giant Silver Samurai robot also looked very awesome.
I ponied up the dough to see it the Friday it came out in the VIP section of my local theater with a friend. This way I would at least get to have chicken nachos and unlimited refills on my soda and popcorn if the movie turned out to be horrible.
It turns out that I enjoyed the move and was well fed!
The previews end up having giving away the opening of the movie. Logan turns to jean in bed and has a conversation. She talks to him about how lonely she is and and how she would be better if he were to join here and how it is his fault that she is lonely. This was a touching scene for me as we get to see Wolverine dealing with the outcome of X-Men 3. He killed the woman he loved and we are finally getting to see the fallout. This, in and of itself, was awesome for me. We are always given these anguished scenes where the hero has to make the hard choice we are not normally given this amount of introspection onto the ramification of these actions. In Logan’s case, they take him to a very dark place which is hinted at in the trailers as well.
One of the other things we get clearly in this movie is that wolverine is a hero. In the X-Men movies, he is played as the rough loner that does the right thing in the end. In his own movie, we get t see him as the killer that is being treated as a puppet. There were parts of the first movie where his heroism would show but were easily overshadowed by the crowded cast. In this movie, We are shown him wrestling with the choices he has made and doing his best to do what is write despite not seeing the value in his own person. This thread spins out into the entire story as we get to see him recover from both the physical injuries of the present and the psychological scars of the past.
In addition to the cool story, there are all the fun fight scenes one would expect from a wolverine movie. My favorite has to be the fight on top of the bullet train as he and Mariko flee the yakuza. It did a good job of highlighting both the utility of those claws and the intelligence of Logan as a combatant and was just damn fun to watch. It reminded me very much of the fights from The Bourne Identity which I also enjoyed.
If you are wedded to the canon of Wolverine, this movie might not be for you. They play fast and loose with his history in Japan. This is most apparent when they have conversations around him in Japanese and he has no clue what they are saying. They also change the Silver Samurai by weaving in some visual elements that make me think of the villain Silvermane more than silver Samurai.
I have only two problems with the movie. After the enjoyable fight scenes earlier in the movie, the final showdown with the Silver Samurai felt very lackluster to me. I understand that the director wanted to utilize both Mariko and Yukio here but it is done in a rather uninspired fashion. There is also a large continuity error when Mariko and Logan are having a conversation over dinner. Logan stabs the chopsticks into his food upright and picks up a fork. Mariko reaches over and takes them out, explaining how this is how they are used for a funeral. They continue to talk about this in regards to lost love and such and then she takes the chopsticks out of the food again. There was no point where Logan had put them back that way. It was done to further emphasize the topic of conversation but was really jarring to see it happen again.
Other than that, It was an enjoyable movie. I would recommend catching it at a matinee.