I love the team up superhero films as much as the next guy but I think the solo films are the best way to explore each different character. The Wolverine is the newest solo adventure for the X-Men member which now takes place in the future instead of the past (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Instead of putting Wolverine into another generic adventure and setting, the film places The Wolverine in a far away land. This is not only a brilliant move but probably one of the most inspired creative decisions in the whole X-Men series. Finally we see one of our heroes explore a different culture and get involved in a conflict that introduces him to villains that are new and fresh. Yes, The Wolverine was a movie that had a bunch of potential and for the most part the film succeeds in turning that potential into a worthy superhero film. Focusing just on Wolverine and pitting him against samurai and a few mutants lets the movie have a deep enriching story. Finally Wolverine is given the whole movie to grow and become the hero that we all expect him to be. The movie is just a lot of fun and at times very touching……until that awful last act.
The Wolverine was first going to be a film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky who is one of the best filmmakers around. He would of made a very dark Wolverine film and probably also a very awesome Wolverine movie. He would have been one of the best filmmakers to take on a superhero but for some reason Aronofsky dropped from the film. The story ideas and setting still remain partially intact as James Mangold took the reins as director. Mangold does bring out a lot of the culture of Japan but doesn’t let the movie stray to far away from it’s blockbuster roots. So as disappointing as it is to have a director like Aronofsky slip through the studio’s fingers, Mangold still makes a really interesting and fun Wolverine film. He is an inspired choice in the absence of an auteur but his film is almost dragged down by its silly and extremely painful final act. The Wolverine’s finale falls victim to what is expected of a blockbuster and contains so many story miss steps that it almost ruins everything that came before it. The film’s first hour and half and a wonderful performance from Hugh Jackman is what saves the movie from consuming itself. Oh and by the way, Jackman is awesome here again. He knows how to play Logan even when the script throws a bunch of lame and cheesy one-liners his way.
The Wolverine is “mostly” a unique look at one of our favorite superheroes. It works because it focuses on substance over bang for about 75 percent of the movie and gives The Wolverine his cinematic due. The only thing is that the 3rd act is just so awful. It betrays the rest of the film and leaves a pretty bad after taste as you leave the theater. No matter the ending, The Wolverine is a worthy effort to bring the clawed mutant back to the silver screen and an entertaining look at a Superhero out of their element.