The Wolverine (2013) / action, adventure, fantasy
Directed by James Mangold
Screenplay by Mark Bomback,: Scott Frank
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto, Brian Tee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Brian Tee
Logan (Hugh Jackman) lives as loner while he's still devastated and haunted by events that happened with Jean Grey in the third film of X-Men. He is found by a Japanese woman Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who delivers him a message from a man he rescued in 1945, called Yashida (Hiroyuki Sanada). He is dying of cancer an would like to met Logan for the last time. Wolverine travels to Japan, meets Yashida's son Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada) and granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) but soon realise that a county of samurai, ninjas and yakuza are very much real.
First of all, I'm a huge X-Men and Wolverine fan so let me get that straight. This film is really focused on Logan's character so consequently the movie is a character study first. If you expect mindless action you will be disappointed.
Many fans were quite stroppy after the first Wolverine's film years back so this one is in a way a redemption. The reason lies in staying true to the comic's original panels although the story lines have been shifted and shuffled. Some fans are saying this superhero film is one of the best comic based movies but it's clear that you can never satisfy everyone.
As I said before, Wolverine explores his inner conflicts, tries to distance himself from the rest of the X-Men, while facing immortality and soul searching. Hugh Jackman again delivers reprising Logan. His performance is strong and most supporting cast does a wonderful job as well. Setting is beautiful and it was so refreshing to see the traditional Japanese culture and non-Hollywood cast. Many films take place in some country but then we only see Americans in it.
Action. To be honest, I expected more action-fighting scenes that would make more sense. Some of them felt a bit forced to me (for example when Yukio and Shingen fight). I understand that they wanted to include scenes because of film's dynamics but still.
Sadly the writing is very two-dimensional for everyone other than Logan. I get that main focus is on Wolvie but other characters are underdeveloped yet there is so much potential for characters like Yukio, Kenuichio and Viper. Story could interlace in a more sophisticated way yet I can imagine how hard it is to adapt a story like this. I love the fact that women in the film are portrayed as strong but I wish there would be more to their stories. I also enjoyed a bit darker mood of the film, Jean Grey's appearances and occasionally humorous scenes.
Main three thoughts that I got from watching The Wolverine:
1. he's freakin awesome (hands down to Hugh!);
2. I would like to see Logan and Yukio travel and kick some ass together;
3. aaaaaaaaa, can't wait for next year's X-Men: Days of Future Past!
P.S. Watch out for he post-credits scene in the end.