Perhaps my expectations were just too high based on the stellar previews or positive early reviews, but I maybe was expecting a bit more than "The Wolverine" delivered. It was moving along quite smoothly but then when it reaches the last 30 minutes or so--around when Logan AKA Wolverine figures out what has short-circuited his healing ability and fixes the problem (there's a small spoiler as I warned, but you never thought Logan would actually die, did you?) things just go off the track. There are weird cyborg ninjas (which is actually kind of cool), characters suddenly changing their minds about whose side they are on, and all sorts of messiness that only is made up for by the amazing last scene that occurs during the credits (seriously, it makes the movie). Let's rewind a bit to that first hour and half-ish of the movie I really liked though and explore why.
Even if toward the end of the movie (before that last scene) I was a bit let-down, things start out pretty strongly. This movie clearly takes place after all the other X-Men flicks, as it has Wolverine dreaming about Jean Grey (whom he had to kill the in mostly-terrible "X-Men 3/X-Men: The Last Stand"). Thankfully, you need not have seen that movie to understand what is going on. We have a depressed Wolverine who wants to never hurt people again, but as advertisements for the movie have made clear, that isn't in the cards.
|The fight atop a fast-moving train is quite impressive.|
Regardless of the plot problems I was at least impressed by the acting. Hugh Jackman basically is Wolverine at this point just as Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man--you just don't associate anyone else with playing the characters as they are so good at it. The supporting cast is mostly made-up of Japanese individuals (excluding Jackman himself, some folk in scenes at the start, and an evil American mutant named "Viper") and cleverly the movie often doesn't have subtitles for what is said, making us rely on figuring out what people are saying based on their tone and physical movements--kind of like Jackman's character (in the comics Wolverine speaks Japanese, but it seems in the movies he does not). Oh, and I mentioned in passing the character, Viper. There isn't much to say about her other than that she is evil, wants money, and has abilities like a snake. An underdeveloped character if there ever were one.
|Viper's use in the movie is somewhat minimal.|
All-in-all, "The Wolverine" was a fun enough movie that should satisfy fans of the character, comic-fans, and anyone out there who has the desire to see Hugh Jackman without a shirt on for extended periods of time. It was entertaining and left me wanting to see what comes next with the X-flicks, so I suppose it did its job.
3.5 out of 5 stars (that .5 is for the last scene alone which had me cheering loudly).