REVIEW – The Wolverine

Arf arf
Review by Vives Anunciacion
Published July 29, 2013
Inquirer Libre

The Wolverine
Directed by James Mangold
Based on the comic book series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller

The Wolverine is a brooding character study framed by inconsequential plotting, which eventually, necessarily had to become a superhero blockbuster flick. Feels like it wanted to be a brilliant superhero character piece. Feels like it was overwritten everything.

However, I would like to report that Hugh Jackman, who has played Logan/The Wolverine since the first X-Men 13 years ago, is bare-chested most of the time in the film. Nood na kayo, girls. At mga girls-at-heart.

Years after the events in X-Men: The Last Stand and completely unrelated to the mistake that is called X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is hiding in the boondocks, wallowing in sorrow over the loss of Jean Grey (or more precisely, after killing her in X3.)

He is taken to Tokyo to pay his last respects to a dying old Japanese mega-tycoon Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) whom Logan helped in the final days of World War II. There, Logan gets embroiled in a pesky Yashida family battle to control Asia’s biggest corporation involving the young maiden Mariko (Tao Okamoto), the Yakuza, ninjas and a giant adamantium-clad Silver Samurai.

The film starts out strongly – imagine a blockbuster action-adventure superhero movie that has no action sequence in the first 30 minutes of the film. I thought it was going to ba a good character study of Logan. As soon as he arrives in Japan, the film starts a turn for the crazy.

Yashida offers Logan mortality by claiming to have the means to take his mutant gift from him – and merge it with the dying old man’s genes. This still falls within Logan’s complex internal conflicts as a character study, but then the story starts to sound like a 1980s afternoon soap opera involving family inheritances, adopted young girls, and a tisay (actually, Russian) contravida who also happens to be a mutant (Svetlana Khodchenkova, as Viper.)

It feels like a 1980s telenovela because the makers failed to update the themes of 1982 comic book the movie is taken from – back then, Walkmans were the iPods and we all watched Michael Dudikoff prance around as American Ninja. That the corporate heir is an heiress in a male-dominated, traditionalist Japanese society is a cop-out to insert an American-style love angle. Why didn’t Logan fall for Yukio instead? Because if he did, he really has nothing to do with Mariko and the stupid Yashida family. What started out as a character study of Logan, the reluctant Wolverine, mutated into a corny save-the-princess heiress adventure.

I do, however, love tha Asian cast. Rita Fukushima is a ballsy Yukio, Tao Okamoto  is the fragile Mariko, and The Ring alumnus Hiroyuki Sanada as Mariko’s dad Shingen, all try to make this corny American interpretation of Japanese culture a little more Asian-authentic.

This is a Marvel movie, so there’s a sure stinger at the end which you shouldn’t miss. Frankly, that stinger gives a proper oomph to the otherwise bland ending. The stinger involves a couple of very, very important mutants.


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