Yet another one that I really had no desire to see. Which is rather ironic because Wolverine has actually always been one of my favorite X-Men. Second only to Nightcrawler. Who really needs to to get his own movie, by the way. Especially since they left him out of "X-Men 3" with no explanation as to why not even a cameo. But the thing is I wanted to see more X-Men than just Wolverine. And I got the distinct feeling from the trailers that it would be Hugh Jackman carrying the film. I do love me some Marvel though so I eventually ended up caving.
"The Wolverine" takes place shortly after the events of "X-Men 3". Logan (Jackman) is back in the familiar stomping grounds of his Canadian countryside as he tries to gain some semblance of normalcy. He gets summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance whose life he once saved. What should have been a brief visit evolves into Logan protecting a fragile Japanese heiress (Tao Okamuto) while his impromptu bodyguard Yukio (Rila Fukushima) tries to keep a deadly premonition from coming true.
The crucial element driving this particular storyline was the fact that Logan has his healing power taken from him. It was an interesting concept to delve into since we have never gotten a chance before this to see how Logan would behave if he was more mortal. However, there were a couple of things about it that I wasn't feeling. First and foremost was the manner in which he lost it. He comes into contact with the villain Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) who is the one responsible for making it happen. But that's not even her forte. Why didn't they get another villain who was known for that capability? One that also would have been better known to us Marvel oldheads like Leech? Yes, it would not have then fit with the plot line they were trying to establish, but they could have just went another route.
Also, there was a factual misstep they made when Logan was without his healing factor. He would keep getting battle wounds that would cause scars. Then when he would unsheath his claws, those wounds still heal. Anyone who knows anything about Wolverine knows that everytime his claws come out they pierce his skin. It just automatically heals when they go back in because of his healing ability. Without it, there should have been scars on his knuckles. Not to mention that it should have hurt him when they came out. They never addressed either. Big mistake. Okay...thanks for staying with me for that nerd moment.
I guess technically there were other Marvel characters in this one. I have personally never heard of Viper and she was pretty prevalent as one of the main villains. I have never been a fan of the Silver Samurai since he was really just a big robot and there's nothing really superhero-ish about that so his climatic battle scene with Wolverine didn't really do much for me. The cameos of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) were nice even if she never displayed any of her powers. But the scene stealers with their cameos (albeit the end credits) was both Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan). Their brief moment made the whole movie worth it.
I wasn't as disappointed with "The Wolverine" was I thought I would be. It did reinforce the fact that Jackman can't carry an entire film by himself as the Wolverine character. It was obvious that it was all set up for him to do so since it was essentially a no-name cast with him. However, those unknowns didn't do too shabby in helping to make this one a little interesting. Still, if they are going to inundate us with a fifth Wolverine film then it would serve them well to make sure to put some other known mutants in it. Although I'd probably still end up caving again anyway and seeing another installment in theaters.
My rating: C+