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In 2013's summer of superheroes, The Wolverine breaks a lot of rules of the genre and comes out a winner for the most unexpected of reasons. Both the movie and the man (make that super-man) are driven by vengeance, anger, and the existential angst of the whole "with great power comes great blah, blah, blah" thing. But The Wolverine has a sense of higher responsibility and a quietude that distinguishes it from the likes of Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and even the numerous X-Men movies that forged its legacy. With Hugh Jackman reprising the role (for the sixth time) that made him a movie star, The Wolverine is the least like any of its predecessors for the way it prefers subdued tension and real dramatic buildup of character rather than all-out frenzied action. There are plenty of elegantly realized set pieces that make visual sense and have direct bearing on the story (not necessarily things that are a priority in other mega-budget actioners), but the moments of talk and gentler sense of introspection that director James Mangold carefully oversees are more important and equally as satisfying. The events of The Wolverine take place in the aftermath of 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, with Wolverine/Logan's grief over the death of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) still raw. He's become a hermit somewhere in the frozen north, still seething with inward rage. The appearance of a lethal Japanese pixie named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) distracts him with a message from an old friend who wants to say goodbye. He's whisked to an idealized, manga-inspired Japan where billionaire industrialist Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) is about to pass on. Logan saved him near the end of World War II (a truly haunting sequence), a debt Yashida wishes to repay by relieving Logan of the curse of his immortality and the healing power of his adamantine bones (and claws). Mangold has cited numerous samurai films as inspiration, and The Wolverine stands out as a classic eastern western for the thematic elements it incorporates from Japanese cinema and the iconic American genre. The other important characters in this cunningly entertaining morality play are Yashida's beloved daughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who battles ethereal dream encounters with Jean Grey for Logan's heart, and his evil son Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada). There's also Yashida's creepy, statuesque doctor, who we later get to know as Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), another mutant who may actually have the power to kill Wolverine. The story is loosely based on a popular Wolverine comic series from 1982 that sets the stage for all the mythical Japanese elements, including a final battle with a scary adamantine samurai warrior-bot. Another super-cool CGI action scene is set on top of a bullet train going top speed (believe it or not, Jackman's enormous, ripped, straining, hyper-vascularized pecs and neck were not computer-enhanced). The Wolverine is an unexpected success in the year's blockbuster field for action that is in service of the story and for a temperament that pays homage to samurai ronin legends as well as James Bond-style summer-movie joyousness. That it is 2013's least superhero-clichéd comic book fantasy is also high praise. And with The Wolverine still cursed with immortality, there will no doubt be more praises as the X-Men universe continues to expand (be sure not to look away before the credits are through). --Ted Fry
- Theatrical Film
- Inspiration: A Ronin’s Journey
Top Customer Reviews
The UNRATED Cut is much better than the theatrical cut.
**Note, SPOILERS follow, so read at your own risk**.
1) There is more gore, but primarily CGI blood sprays. Some shots of Wolverine's claws going through people's limbs, but nothing explicit. No graphic dismemberments.
2) Wolverine drops a few more f-bombs.
3) Some of the opening scenes depicting Wolverine at the POW camp are a little longer.
4) The scene involving Wolverine, an arrow, and the hunter is slightly longer and more brutal.
5) Slightly longer dialogue with Yukio on the way to the plane.
6) Relationship between Mariko and Yashida and Shingen and Yashida is better fleshed out in the unrated cut.
7) A new scene where Yashida asks Logan his age.
8) A new scene with Yashida talking to Shingen on his deathbed, telling him, "You are not the man to lead Yashida".
9) A new scene at the love hotel where the Yakuza show up and get into a fight with Wolverine. Mariko intervenes and demonstrates some fighting skill as well.
10) Wolverine's operation on himself is bloodier.
11) The fight scene between Shingen and Wolverine is slightly longer and now depicts Shingen rather graphically cutting into Wolverine's shoulder blade (no blood though).
12) A new scene where Viper gives Hadana poison for his arrows, which he later uses to bring down Wolverine at the ninja fight.Read more ›
However, "The Wolverine," takes an entirely different approach to the eponymous character. Audiences get to see the Adamantium and claws stripped away in a more emotionally driven film. Wolverine is facing an existential crisis. Following the events of "X-Men: The Last Stand" filmgoers get to see the Wolverine battle is own mortality, or rather near-immortality, during a series of dream sequences centering-around Jean Grey, which is reprised by award-winning Dutch actor, Famke Janssen. This creates a great underlying plot, and immediately sets "The Wolverine" apart from the other X-Men films.
Surprisingly enough, "The Wolverine" closely follows the original comic book volume of Wolverine, Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's four-part miniseries, that set the tone and standard for Wolverine and his story arcs. Even though the film is set after the events of "X-Men: The Last Stand," instead of "X-Men Origins," "The Wolverine" accurately showcases the events of the 1982 comic book series.Read more ›
If you want the actual movie, buy this version
I would be totally remiss if I didn't point out that this is another example of how Jeff H. and I do things totally out of sequence. We haven't watch the first two movies in "The Wolverine" series yet. Don't ask me why we do this - it's just a habit of ours. [Yes, Zack is the same way too.]
"The Wolverine" picks up on some of Logan's back story, while he's living in isolation in the Alaskan Wilderness. Logan was a prisoner of war in Japan during the Second World War. He rescues a Japanese soldier from being killed during the second atomic bomb drop - which sets the stage for the events that unravel in Logan's life during present time.
The Japanese soldier he saved is now dying and wants to repay Logan's kidness by giving him a way out of enteral life - the peace of the grace. Logan reluctantly agrees to go to Japan to pay his respects to an old friend; but is soon involved in an internal family struggle over a vast fortune and control of a business empire.
Somehow during this, Logan begins to loose his healing abilities.
Yet all is not what it seems and there is a spectular double cross nobody will see coming - least of all Logan.
Jeff H. and I think "The Wolverine" is an excellent live-action anime movie that adds to the compelling Marvel Movie Storyline.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Definitley the strongest X-men related film to date. Hugh Jackman explodes onto the screen, set after X-Men the last stand, Wolverine struggles to live with his actions during his... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Losinglemo
One of the better Fox made superhero movies. They usually do a pretty crappy job. But really enjoyed this.Published 7 days ago by William Johnson
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