Keep in mind before I continue that every movie has its flaws and, The Wolverine is no different due to the weak last fifteen to twenty minutes of the film. That being said, I've always liked the X-Men films and I've liked the comics. Never been a huge fan of them but they're amongst the most interesting both in film and in the comics within the genre of superheroes. I'm by no means saying I like, X3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins because, I don't. I find some things redeemable in those films as with Spider-Man 3 but just not enough. Last year, five comic book films came out: Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Kick Ass 2 and Thor: The Dark World. I'm not looking at, The Wolverine as just a superhero flick though. I will be looking at it as a film in general, the theme of loss, the vulnerability of a god and why it overall deserves to be talked about among the best that the genre has to offer not just in potential but to be shown as more than just style over substance ala Man of Steel (not flame intended).
The Wolverine is by far one of the most interesting superhero films because it's not just the summer popcorn flick that people were going to see. It's a character study of someone who is essentially a god that has had to suffer through years, centuries of loss. Regarded as one of the most over powered superheroes, particularly in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine is at his most vulnerable and interesting in the film because he's faced with mortality of his own for the first time in his life. The loss of Jean in X3 really put him in a bad place but also a morale place where he doesn't want to kill anyone anymore. Hugh Jackman takes this character to dark, emotional places we've never seen before. When we think of Wolverine, we think of a badass that we want to see tear shit up. Which we do in the train sequence of the film, which is a highlight. The aspect of it being a character study is a handed strength to the film that is based off of the Japanese saga. It's obviously not a direct adpatation but it provides enough of an interesting story. Especially when you tie it in with X3 and make it to where he is vulnerable. How do you make the character more interesting, the stakes higher and the overall story and situations that much more personal. This is a man who is haunted by the losses and events he's been through. Honestly, you'd be pretty [frick]ed in the head and emotionally if you went through so many losses, wars and Nagasaki. Wolverine has a soul and James Mangold spends the film examining the soul, emotional and psychological aspects of this god.
Obviously we all knew Wolverine wasn't going to die because that's just not something the studios would do. Not to mention it was inevitable that he was going to be in the upcoming, X-Men Days of Future Past, which looks absolutely phenomenal and epic. So, what makes this one of the best superhero films of all time? Well, it shares similar strengths that films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier have. It puts our hero in a difficult place as all movies should do but does it in such a personal and intimate way. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was about morales and the fact there is no lear line anymore of what's right and wrong. The difference of freedom and fear. The overall story with the titular villain along with fantastic performances in the film make it among the best as well as furthering the cinematic universe. The Wolverine gives us an interesting story which is a god who is faced with mortality and possible death, getting over the loss of a loved one and ultimately something that's worth living for. I personnally didn't care for the actress who played Yukio. But like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it didn't just deliver on story and the great style of a superhero film. It gave us great themes and character moments that pulls us in emotionally ultimately giving the fight scenes and the chases that much more weight.
The Dark Knight and Spider-Man 2 gives us great themes and morales too but go about it in almost a similar way. Spider-Man 2 speaks to us in responsibility and what it means to give up things in life that we want in order to have a more fullfilling and happier life while The Dark Knight speaks to us with terrorism and the understanding as well as the not so understanding of people. Alfred even speaks in the film "some people, just want to watch the world burn". Again, going back to the themes of, The Wolverine. Loss and ultimately life is worth fighting for. Just have to find that reason, even if it means finding it again. A lot of people just look at superhero films as a bunch of mindless entertainment and while through recent years, specifically the last decade or so, the films have gotten more popular. The potential just hasn't been sought after until The Dark Knight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and others have come along and shown that they can be so much more, the same can be said for, The Wolverine. Wolverine, Mariko and Harada all have some sort of development in the film. Mariko learns to trust, Harada learns that if you ultimately love someone, you have to let them go and he sacrifices himself doing so. Wolverine finds a reason to live again and that's for the betterment of humanity.
The Wolverine is yet another shining example of what superhero films can be. They don't have to always be dark and depressing like, The Dark Knight or fun, fluffiness of The Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has proven this best that superhero films can have fluff and darkness in it while maintaining interesting characters, stories, motivations and themes. The Wolverine has the most personal themes of any superhero film if you ask me, outside of Spider-Man 2's themes of responsibility. I know I have spent most of this editorial talking about the themes of, The Wolverine but it's precisely why it deserves to be talked with among the best the genre has to offer. The interesting story of a haunted god facing mortality for the first time in his life, the themes and the overall performances, that in particular of Hugh Jackman which deserves praise, ultimately one of the best of all time that the genre has to offer. Now, I'm not saying if it should be among the top five or top ten. Just in general, one of the best superhero films of all time. I won't be surprised to see people disagree with me and such but I want to hear your guys' thoughts on this matter.