When Director Bryan Singer put Marvel’s posse of mutant outcasts on the big screen in 2000, he could not have foreseen the movie empire that would stem from the X-Men.
The audience immediately took interest in the collection of mutants, but Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the Wolverine caught many viewers’ attention early on. Jackman’s popularity soon led him to a solo career in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009. The film did not highlight on Jackman’s strength as an actor or have an intricate, intense, action-filled plot that many of Marvel’s more recent films have been able to achieve (i.e., “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “Captain America”).
Currently, Jackman is continuing his career as the Wolverine by partnering with Director James Mangold in the release of “The Wolverine.” With an intense plot, eccentric setting and talented new actors, the film is expected to be a smash-hit.
“The Wolverine” is at times a very heavy and experimental story about a man named Logan (Jackman) who is trying to deal with immortality, loss and the idea of moving forward.
The film opens in a prisoner-of-war camp in Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II where Logan is being held captive in a well while American pilots are heard flying over the city to drop an atomic bomb. Logan crawls out of the well and saves the life of one of his captors, a Japanese soldier named Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi).
The movie cuts to another scene decades later in which Logan is hidden in the woods away from humanity as a hermit in the forests of the Yukon. There a punky, strong-willed and peculiar red-haired sprite named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) tracks Logan down in order to request that he travel with her back to Japan and say goodbye to the man he saved years earlier in the prison camp.
Logan discovers Yashida has become a successful and wealthy industrialist in his lifetime when he arrives in Japan. Though Logan is only in Japan to pay his respects, he learns that Yashida has found a way to end his immortality and allow him to live a normal, human life.
The sinister mastermind behind the plot is the Viper, Yashida’s nurse (Svetlana Khodchenkova). When Logan’s powers become weakened by the Viper’s plots, he’s left physically and mentally vulnerable. This all leads up to the climax in the final action-filled, high-intensity, high-drama, and emotional last 3o minutes of “The Wolverine.”
Though the plot is highly intriguing and the character’s emotional developments are staggering, “The Wolverine” has a few drawbacks. The use of what many filmgoers call “vulgar” language is laced throughout the script with the use of the “F” word 7-10 times within an hour. The brief sexual scenes are kept to an innocent level for younger viewers, but the script is blatantly filled with sexual humor.
The Marvel crew needs to focus on quality control and tying up loose ends in the next X-Men film. All of this being said, “The Wolverine” does get two things completely right (excluding Hugh Jackman’s perfect portrayal of the strong-and-silent Logan).
Firstly, the director wiped the slate clean of overused fight scenes. Mangold takes the worn-out, drab locomotive fight scene to a whole new level with the use of a Japanese bullet train. It brings a new life to the scene with an adrenaline pumping fight. Secondly, the film also succeeds in teasing the audience with an excerpt from the newest X-Men film coming out in 2014. Marvel sticks the landing when it comes to keeping the audience on the edge of their seats in anticipation for a sequel after making them sit through two-plus hours of storytelling.
After watching the film from beginning to end, I would give the movie a B for effort. However, young children should not be taken to see this movie. The film is currently rated PG-13, but I believe it should be rated R due to graphic medical scenes, language and intense violence.