3 out of 5 stars (average)
The Wolverine is Marvel’s latest edition to ongoing X-Men film series, and it’s actually pretty good. The plot isn’t (totally) ridiculous, it’s easy to like and care about the characters, and the action is well-choreographed. Hugh Jackman also gives renewed energy to his character, energy he lost in the pitiful X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. If you have seen and liked the other X-Men movies, then Wolverine should entertain you. If not, then look elsewhere.
The story takes place following the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (the one where Brett Ratner kind of totally messed it up). Logan (Jackman) is reeling over the death of his forbidden love Jean Grey (Famke Jannsen) and now sports a beard that could rival the guys from Duck Dynasty. In short, he’s a drifter once again. Logan hates his “immortality” because he wants to die and reunite with Jean. Logan’s pain has also caused him to renounce killing, unless of course the men deserve it.
One night, a mysterious woman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) comes for Logan asking for him to visit her dying employer, rich tech mogul Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), who Logan saved during the bombing of Nagasaki. Once there, Yashida offers to rid Logan of his immortality so that he can have a normal life in return for saving his. Because Logan cannot bear the thought of someone else enduring the pain he has gone through, he refuses, just before the old man kicks the bucket. The next day at his funeral, Logan meets his granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto), moments before a Chinese gang attempts to end her. Logan intervenes and becomes her protector as they try to determine who might want her dead and why.
I was surprised by The Wolverine. The plot was relatively engaging (for a modern day action movie) and the characters moved the story forward instead of stuff blowing up. While the film lacks the dramatic punch of the first two X-Men films and X-Men: First Class, it still manages to make you feel empathy for Logan, an emotion that was completely abandoned in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which unfortunately killed the entire line of Origins movies they planned to make). The action scenes are appropriately placed, and they never make you want to check your watch. Again, it’s not as good as the first two films or the previous one, but The Wolverine is still a suitable summer action movie.
Rated PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Sci-Fi Action and Violence, Some Sexuality and Language