The Wolverine takes place after X-Men: The Last Stand and the movie fortunately does even not reference X-Men: Origins, therefore, if you have only seen the X-Men trilogy, you can watch the Wolverine without any other prior knowledge.
As for the movie itself, the Wolverine satisfies on so many levels, from its brutal action scenes, to the slower moments where the film develops the characters. The Wolverine is loosely based on famous Wolverine comic where he travels to Japan, and while it adapts the source material well, it is more inspired by it rather than holds to it, which is good. Because most of the film is set in Japan, there is a unique tone and feeling to the film that most other comic book movies do not have. While the Wolverine does lean towards the "comic-book-y" story near the end of the film, the rest of it is more of a unique action film with the Wolverine character in it.
The Wolverine does not shy away from the brutality of the character and his violent featuring some impressively violent scenes for a PG-13 film. We finally get to see blood on Wolverine's claws, which may sound morbid, but Wolverine is a brutal character and the film shows that aspect.
Directed by: James Mangold
Genre: Action, Action Adventure, Comic Book,
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Running Time: 126 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Surprisingly deep character development and themes, Brutal and violent, Incredible action set pieces, Gritty and realistic tone, Hugh Jackman is even better than usual, Great soundtrack, Nice slower section, Humanizes the character, Japanese setting, James Mangold's direction, Epic after credits scene, Outstanding sound design, Believable romance, A lot of practical stun work, Easy to invest in the character and story,
Plot: The following plot summary is copied from Wikipedia.com.
In 1945, Logan, the Wolverine, is held in a Japanese POW camp near Nagasaki. During the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Logan rescues an officer named Yashida and shields him from the blast.
In the present day, Logan lives as a hermit in the Yukon, tormented by hallucinations of Jean Grey, whom he was forced to kill in X-Men: The Last Stand. He is located by Yukio, a mutant with the precognitive ability to foresee people's deaths, on-behalf of Yashida, now the CEO of a technology corporation. Yashida, who is dying of cancer, wants Logan to accompany Yukio to Japan so that he may repay his life debt.
In Tokyo, Logan meets Yashida's son, Shingen, and granddaughter, Mariko. There, Yashida offers to transfer Logan's healing abilities into his own body, thus saving Yashida's life and alleviating Logan of his immortality, which Logan views as a curse. Logan refuses and prepares to leave the following day. Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 9.6/10- The Wolverine's plot is a deeper character study rather than a big flashy comic book film, which worked to the movie's favor. During the Wolverine, I was completely invested in the character throughout the entire film. I was completely involved in the story wondering what was going to happen next. The Wolverine is a much smaller scale film compared to most others in the genre, which is rather refreshing. Do not get me wrong, big epic movies like The Avengers and the Dark Knight Rises where an entire city is in danger is great, but the Wolverine gives us something new and original in that respect. To my surprise, the romance was actually really well done and very believable.
Because of the Japanese setting, the tone and setting reminded me of a samurai film and I loved that because I am a fan the genre and the Japanese warrior culture. I was surprised by much of the movie was set in Japanese, and while I am not crazy about subtitles, they gave the film an authentic and realistic feel. Also the movie contained a few western motifs, which were great. My only real problem with the plot is that the villains where a little underdeveloped and not as good as they could have been. However, the film places the focus where it should be, on Wolverine's character.
Action: 9.7/10- The Wolverine's action scenes are raw and intense. While there is an occasional shot or two that could have been framed better, the majority of the action and its directing was spot on. Logan finally has the chance to unleash his full fury with somewhat realistic action scenes up until the final Act. The final battle was impressive and fun to watch, even though it was a departure from the more grounded action previously setup in the film. Despite how terrible the train fight scene looked in the trailer, it was actually an awesome action scene.
Acting: 9.3/10- Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine is the modern definition of manliness; the dude is seriously bada**. After 13 years of playing the character of Wolverine, Jackman still has it in him and he gives the character more depth than ever before with his performance. It is refreshing to see many new faces from the predominately Japanese cast. Tao Okamoto delivers a compelling performance as Mariko, and she has great chemistry with Jackman. Rila Fukushima as Yukio was great! She turned out to be one of the better characters in the movie. Svetlana Khodchenkova as Dr. Green / Viper was not bad nor was she all that great either; she was just kind of there.
Special effects: 8.8/10- Shockingly, the Wolverine does not rely heavily on big flashy special effects as other superheroes movies do, which is kind of cool actually. There are a lot of practical effects and stun work used during the action scenes, all of which was excellent. The train fight that looked terribly fake in the trailer actually looks realistic and believable in the movie, one of the better action sequences.
Soundtrack: 8.8/10- Marco Beltrami's score perfect compliments the Wolverine tone and setting. The music sounded as though it featured many Japanese tunes and instruments, which added to the Japanese setting.
Comedy: 7.5/10- While the humor is not prevalent throughout the film, Jackman has several hilarious and memorable moments throughout the movie.
Would I Watch This Again: The Wolverine is a film that I will definitely be buying on Blu-Ray and one that I will watch many times.
Overall: 9.6/10- Overall the Wolverine perfectly portrays the character as well as producing something new and original in the genre. The Wolverine focuses on the character's inner struggle and smaller more personal story that surprisingly turned out perfectly. Although I know that I am in the vast minority when it comes to my opinion of the Wolverine, I do believe that James Mangold made a film that stands up on multiple levels, even if the ending was a little lacking.
Closing comments: For those who are not fans of the character, the movie would rate more around a 8.5/10 in terms of being a great action film with a deep character driven story; fans of the character, however, should love the movie as much I do did.
Recommended for: Comic Book fans, Hugh Jackman fans, X-Men fans, Wolverine fans, Action fans, Samurai film fans,
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