I went to see “The Wolverine” this afternoon, the sequel to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. If you want the really quick review, I’d say it was an improvement over “Origins”, is pretty slick but a little long and over-complicated.
It has several things going for it:
- We get to see more of Wolverine’s past, this time in Japan during World War Two.
- The film explores the impact of Wolverine’s (near) invincibility and the fact that he’s left a trail of destruction and death all through his very, very long life. Basically, he’s grown as a character since the X-Men films. He still gets plenty of cracking one-liners though, don’t worry.
- Wolverine fights ninjas… lots of them. This is something we’re accustomed to seeing in the comics, but on the big screen, it’s extra special.
- The action scenes are really quite impressive, especially the fight scene in and on top of the bullet train in Tokyo.
- There are ninjas. Did I mention that already? Oh, and the Yazuka.
- On a personal note, the film got me extra excited about my upcoming trip to Tokyo. You may not experience the same levels of excitement. And to be honest, I think I’m over-estimating my own chances of encountering ninjas while I’m there.
On the downside, there are a few niggles. But as they represent potential spoilers, stop reading here unless you want to get more of an insight into the film that you’d like.
- There are a couple of completely pointless characters featured. it’s almost as if the studio was determined to use some comic characters so they could claim the rights to them? I always thought Viper was more of an Avengers villain (at least, a Captain America villain), not a regular in the X-Men comics. They could have had a quicker and more focused film if she was left out from the get go.
- I know it’s a complete fantasy, and you have to suspend belief at the door, but I thought the way Logan’s powers are reduced (in essence, he becomes vulnerable to injury) was weak.
- The leading lady is lacking in the charisma department. And that’s a bit of an understatement. She’s verging on transparent. Beige wallpaper. She gets shot at, kidnapped (at least twice) and sees death all around her throughout the film. But her facial expression remains that of something waiting on a bus.
- Speaking of which, there are numerous dream sequences featuring Jean Grey – the X-Man who became Dark Phoenix and killed off too many characters for Logan’s liking. So he had to kill her. Anyhoo, I know this as my sad life has been dedicated to reading too many comics. My point is, the average punter may well have been left completely confused by Fake Jansen’s role in the film. There is no real explanation of who she is or why he keeps seeing her in his dreams.
Finally, the film ends of a bit of a weak note. Personally, I’d have loved to have seen a reference to another Wolverine story, but instead it just fades off.
Overall though, it was well made and entertaining. Hugh Jackman was, as ever, excellent as Canada’s favourite claw-wielding mutant. And really, this is the film that should have come first.
Next stop: “Days of Future Past“.