The Wolverine review

The Wolverine Cover

This year we have been spoilt, and will continue to be spoilt, by the number of comic based movies hitting the big screen. Yet so far, they have struggled to live up to many of our expectations. Could that all be about to change as Hugh Jackman dons the iconic beard and Claws of Marvel’s wild man for the sixth time?

In a word, yes.

Wolverine fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as director James Mangold, and screenwriters Mark Bomback and Scott Frank have finally got it right. They’ve given us a Wolverine movie that we can all be proud of; an intelligent, attention grabbing action thriller, filled with breathtaking action scenes and a beautifully crafted story, of love betrayal, and mortality.

Almost all of the boxes have been ticked here, and even the purists will be pleased, as the story is based on the classic 1982 four part miniseries ‘Wolverine’ by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont.

Following his actions in X-Men: The Last Stand, and haunted by spectral appearances of his beloved Jean Grey, Logan (Hugh Jackman) has rid himself of ‘The Wolverine’ and returned to nature, living off the land. But he soon returns to Japan for the first time since 1945, where he saved the life of a young Japanese soldier. That soldier was Shingen Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), now a powerful business tycoon nearing the end of his natural life. Yashida claims to have the one thing that Logan desires, an end to his never-ending tortured existence and a chance to live out the rest of his days and age as a normal human (whose skeleton has been clad with indestructible metal). Of course nothing comes for free and Logan soon finds himself vulnerable for the first time in his long life. Embroiled in a web of deceit and betrayal, he is pushed to unimaginable physical and emotional limits, but ultimately has his lust for life restored.

The Wolverine (Hugh Jackman as Wolverine)

The entire feel of The Wolverine is worlds apart from the previous attempt, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It has an almost Bond like feel to it in the early stages as our hero finds himself alone in an unfamiliar environment, where he finds love and friendship whilst battling against an evil organisation led by a crazed villain with evil intentions; one who is able to shed her skin and spit venom, well, maybe not the last part.

The movie is an action packed thrill ride from start to finish, but could also be seen as a deep love story. The action is fantastic, and the martial arts based fight scenes are rather pleasing to the eye, especially when they take place atop a speeding bullet train. The characters for the best part are also pretty good, especially Rila Fukushima’s Yukio, whose powers mirror that of Logan’s in a way, as she has the ability to foretell death.

Unfortunately as good as it is, The Wolverine is let down by a lacklustre final battle, with bland effects used to reveal what is supposedly his greatest foe to date. But that really does little to dampen what I consider to be the best comic book film so far this year.

Mangold has done an incredible job of somehow adapting a well-known and beloved comic arc, linking it to the ongoing X-Men series, whilst keeping it a pretty awesome self-contained adventure. The wounds from the previous movie have healed, and we are now seeing a deep and engrossing image of Logan, a haunted and tortured character that Jackman is still finding new ways to represent.

Of course, there is a hidden scene that follows the credits, which is a real teaser of what is to come, but that’s all I’m saying, you’ll get no spoilers from me.

The Wolverine is THE comic book movie of the summer, go see it.

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