Josh Wilding Reviews: THE WOLVERINE; "An Edge Of Your Seat Adrenaline Ride"
20th Century Fox have always been hit and miss when it comes to their big screen adaptations, so is James Mangold's The Wolverine another Fantastic Four or up there with X-Men: First Class? Hit the jump to read my spoiler-free review of the movie!
I wasn't expecting much from The Wolverine, but wow, director James Mangold REALLY delivers with this one. So many people have called it the Wolverine film we've all been waiting for, that to say it again here would almost be a cliche, but it really is! Despite failing to answer some important questions (such as what has happened to the X-Men or how Wolverine SEEMS to remember the events of WWII despite having previously been portrayed as having no memory of his past), the plot of The Wolverine is solid enough. With the spotlight squarely on a damaged Logan haunted by the death of Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand, the film sets out to help restore and redeem the former X-Man, throwing in plenty of challenges along the way. It also manages to avoid the mistakes made by X-Men Origins: Wolverine and doesn't throw in an abundance of unnecessary cameos; in fact, apart from the Japanese characters from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's iconic comic book arc, the only major new mutant to be introduced here is Viper. It's a wise choice, and while there are an abundance of mutants they could have possibly used, the story doesn't suffer from this truly being a solo Wolverine film.
However, the movie could have done with being a little shorter and arguably takes a little too long to get going, but when it does, there's no let-up and the final act in particular is an edge of your seat adrenaline ride. The action in this movie is top notch, and while the big funeral fight isn't all that different from what we've seen before, everything from the superb bullet train sequence onwards is pure gold. That is expertly choreographed, as are the final few battles. There's also not a single weak moment in terms of the special effects - unlike X-Men Origins: Wolverine's terrible CGI claws or X-Men: First Class' wonky wire work - and the gigantic Silver Samurai is particularly impressive. Almost as impressive is how brilliantly the filmmakers have recreated Japan on the big screen, despite not actually filming there! The Wolverine never fails to convince and is topped off with a great score from Marco Beltrami. If you're thinking of taking any particularly young children to see it though, you may want to reconsider. There may not be an overabundance of blood, but there is enough violence and adult themes to make this not the most family friendly of films!
It goes without saying that Hugh Jackman is perfect as the titular character, but this movie gives him some really meaty material to sink his claws into. Ferocious, emotional and savage, Jackman brings Wolverine to the big screen in such a way that it's impossible to imagine anyone else being capable of. Mangold also gets some great performances out of Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Rila Fukushima (Yukio) and Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen). Considering the fact that this is a supporting cast made of actors not all that well-known playing characters that the casual moviegoer will have never heard of, it's impressive just how solid The Wolverine is in terms of performances. Svetlana Khodchenkova is mostly good as Viper, despite the fact that her character is a bit on the one dimensional side. All in all, this latest outing for Logan follows in the footsteps of X-Men: First Class as a return to form for Fox's Marvel movie universe and really does give us all the Wolverine movie we've all been waiting for!
The Wolverine fires on all cylinders and is a thrilling, action-packed thrill ride for fans of the iconic comic book character. Hopefully the unanswered questions the movie raises - make sure to stick around for a superb mid-credits scene - will be resolved in Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen Yashida
Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida
Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida
Rila Fukushima as Yukio
Will Yun Lee as Kenuichio Harada
Brian Tee as Noburo Mori
Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper
RELEASE DATE: July 26th, 2013.
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