After years of subpar superhero films, it seems Fox Studios has finally gotten wise when it comes to its ownership of the X-Men franchise. Now, one could argue that not all the X-Men films to date have been terrible. However, I would argue even the good ones haven’t been overly great. That being said, with the release of The Wolverine it seems Fox Studios has torn a page out of Marvel Studios’ playbook and kept the film much closer to the original source material then ever before.
As the film begins, we find a brooding Logan haunted by his demons. He’s a man with no home or friends, living a bearded nomadic existence, until his past, once again, comes calling for him. As a POW in World War 2, Logan saved a young Japanese soldier’s life by shielding him from the fallout of the Atomic bomb. Now all these years later, the man Logan saved is on his deathbed, and sends a scrappy young girl to fetch Logan and bring him to Japan, so the dying man can say finally say thank you and rest in peace. Unfortunately for Logan, he’s in for more than he bargained for, as old school ninjas, Japanese gangsters, and a beautiful, venomous woman lay waiting for his arrival to Japan.
In a summer movie season seemingly devoid of true character studies and real emotional depth, much to the film’s credit, The Wolverine has both. Of course, it’s a comic book movie, so the story is fast-paced and obvious, but certain scenes where an almost invincible Logan realizes that he might be mortal after all really give the audience something to connect to. More so, the relationship built between Logan and the woman he’s protecting stand as the true heart of the film. Yes, there’s lots of ridiculous fight scene, like most summer blockbusters, however, the real meat of the story is Logan coming to terms with his immortality and the relationships he’s lost along the way.
This is actor Hugh Jackman`s sixth outing (if you count a brief cameo in X-Men: First Class) as Wolverine and Jackman seems to have found a new comfort level with the character. He finally gets the angst and courage of the beloved comic book hero. Furthermore, he’s never looked better and wears the ripped muscles and adamantium claws naturally. Jackman was recently on record of saying that they have finally made the Wolverine movie the character deserves, and I tend to agree with him. So what if we don’t get the blue and yellow suit that’s iconic to the hero in the film?
Overall, The Wolverine doesn’t have the epic scale of Whedon`s The Avengers or the artistic feel of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight series, but it does have some genuine feeling and doesn’t relay on the lowest common dominator to entertain. Is this the best comic book movie made to date? Probably not, but it is one of the better character driven pieces of this hugely popular genre.
If more of the comic book movies focused on their characters and less on the large scale of destruction amassed during the film, we would have better movies like this and less crap like the previous X-Men films. Thanks for finally getting it right.