“Wolverine” Slashes For Redemption

With a buffet of movies on the table for our enjoyment this summer, one has only to sample the various flavors to catch a taste of what Hollywood has been cooking up. Fortunately, although the dish I was served looked tough on the outside, it was surprisingly tender and satisfied my action, adventure and hero craving.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The new “Wolverine” movie that premiered on July 26th starred Hugh Jackman as the eponymous character. Many are calling the movie a “stand alone,” but I conclude that although this film may indeed seem like a random island for “X-Men” fanatics to frolic in, it actually is an important player in the future of the franchise.

The story takes place post “X- 3: The Last Stand,” and while I have not had a copious amount of exposure to the “X-Men” comics, my gut told me that this film was based on a previous written comic. Doing a small amount of research, I found the plot line for the film was indeed adapted from a 1982 comic. What gave this fact away to a non “X-Men” comic reader like myself? Maybe it was the fact that Wolverine’s adventures take place in present day Japan, complete with the family drama of inheritance, arranged marriages, ninja clans and a Iron Man-like samurai armor Tony Stark would balk at, but I don’t want to spoil it.

Following the idea that the film is based on a comic, Wolverine’s inner demons are fought constantly throughout the film. He’s broken away from the X-Men since he killed Jean Grey, and now has nightmares about her that plague his memory. The cherry on top is the idea of immortality, and whether Logan is willing to die. A Disney-esque theme seems to show its face when Logan is clearly willing to die at the opening of the movie. The film opens with him as an unkept, long-haired shell of a man with no one to give him purpose or a heroic sense to loyally protect. Thankfully, as soon as he is thrown into a conflict and given someone to protect, his “doggy” senses begin to tingle and he becomes a loyal ferocious Wolverine once again.

The cinematography is excellent with well-choreographed fighting sequences and special effects that will literally blow you away. The leaked “bullet train scene” may have seemed like false bait to reel wary people in to see the movie, but there are plenty of other action scenes that complement and uphold the dignity of its tantalizing relative.
Great villains, mutants and humans alike are introduced, some with shallow backstories that may have needed to be more developed, and others with a complicated past that is never fully explained. Staying true to the comic book theme throughout, the movie constantly leaves you questioning who means well and who the true villain is.

I also appreciated the many sardonic one-liners delivered by Hugh Jackman that often shattered the high-tension moments. There was of course a declarative moment that someone asked, “Who are you?,” followed by the epic reply that made the audience sizzle with approval: “I am the Wolverine.” The humor was well-balanced and accented the script well. The dialogue and backstory flowed nicely with only a few minor bumps and small inconsistencies, but nothing detrimental to the overall story. I enjoyed the visual appeal of the World War II prequel scene that featured the atomic bomb and Wolverine’s survival through it. The scene played as an intriguing framework for the movie that did not overtake the present story being portrayed.

I highly approve of “The Wolverine” as a movie to see in theaters or wait for viewing in your living room. Whether you are a ferocious “X-Men” or Hugh Jackman fan who enjoys a well written, action packed film, this movie is quite enjoyable, and also redeems the earlier movie “Origins: Wolverine.” The ending leaves you satisfied with the renewed and stronger than ever Wolverine, but to get the full experience, you must stay for the post credits scene — it will leave your nerves excited and eager for the forthcoming “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

 

RECOMMENDED: Theaters or DVD, “The Wolverine” should impress both “X-Men” fans and casual movie watchers alike.