Since we can't let a weekend pass without seeing a movie, Dan and I went to see The Wolverine on our Big Bear vacation.
I'm not a big fan of the Marvel movies, with the exception being the X-Men franchise. I've loved all of the X-Men movies, except X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was lacking. So, it was with a dose of skepticism and a bit of hopefulness that I went to see The Wolverine.
The Wolverine was good, really good. Admittedly, the movie was stronger in the first half, but even when it began to crumble in the last thirty-minutes, it was still held my interest.
My primary enjoyment of the film stemmed from the strong characters. Unlike other comic based movies, the villains were not the most intriguing characters. In fact, the villains in The Wolverine, were relatively weak and uninteresting, which oddly did not diminish my enjoyment of the film.
Huge Jackman is perfectly cast as Logan, the Wolverine, bringing a good dose of humor to off-set the angst and anger of his character. As much as I love Jackman, this movie is helped by the fact that it's not his sole responsibility to carry the film. The character is more interesting to watch when he is reacting to situations, rather than allowed to wallow or brood.
I really enjoyed the interplay between Logan and the two female leads, Mariko (Tao Okamoto) and Yukio (Rila Fukushima). Mariko is the granddaughter of an extremely wealthy Japanese business man, Yashida, whom Logan saved from death during WW2. As a child, Yukio was informally adopted by the wealthy family to be a playmate and sister for Mariko. As an adult Yukio is almost treated like staff and has been sent by a dying Yashida to track down Logan in North America and bring him to Tokyo for a business proposition.
The best thing about the triangle of Logan/Mariko/Yukio, is it isn't one. So easily, this could have turned into a love triangle with jealous women. I loved that both women are independent and strong. They don't fight with each other. Their friendship and sister bond prevails throughout and they are not in conflict. Both women kick-ass in the movie and sometimes they are the ones doing the rescuing.
Although the movie is called The Wolverine, it really has three strong leads rather than a single protagonist. The women are just as vital as Logan and often more interesting, as he has entered their world. A lot of the entertainment is derived from watching Logan figure out his new environment. I love that the story is set in Japan.
The pacing is quick and the movie is filled with loads of great fight sequences. In particular, there is a very intense fight that takes place on top of a speeding bullet train.
If you're not familiar with the X-Men franchise, you might be a bit confused with elements of the story. The story is written with the assumption that you have seen the other movies and in particular, there are multiple dream sequences with a character that will only make sense if you have seen the other films.
TIP- Make sure to stay for the end credits!
The Wolverine is a solid summer-release type of movie and highly entertaining. It's to splurge and see on the big screen.
SPOILER ALERT- SPOILER ALERT- SPOILER ALERT
The only part of the movie that really bothered me was when Yashida was in the robot. Are you kidding??? It was eye-roll inducing and so cheesy. I'm not sure how I would have handled the reveal, but a robot was not the way to go. It was that one element in the movie that just crossed the line.