A quick and brief review, as the movie is fresh in my mind tonight. Obligatory trailer to catch you up on the story….this review is FREE OF SPOILERS :D
Considering the first Wolverine movie (2009) for X-men Origins, and considering the very FIRST trailer of The Wolverine, I thought this movie would be awful…but it was much better than expected. It was, dare I say, enjoyable!! And I secretly liked that there were rarely any subtitles! If you can’t understand Japanese, you don’t have to worry at all because it is made for English-speaking audiences and you don’t hear anything “game-changing”. But there are more jokes and more emotion in some of the scenes if you can understand what people are saying around the main characters. Indeed, when I heard a Japanese soldier cry out, “Hiroshima to onaji da!” (“It’s just like Hiroshima!” as air raid sirens go off), a pang of pre-emptive sorrow hit my heart.
Some parts required me to be very forgiving to a “comic book movie”, the way you had to be a few years ago during the original Spiderman trilogy era of the early 2000’s. The villains made no sense, their motivations were clear from the first 20 minutes of this 126min movie, and they sucked at being villains! The Viper’s super mutant power was “overconfidence”! Her voice, however, was amazing….she should get hired to be the “seductress” voice in any cartoon or video game. Having ninjas in modern Tokyo is another point where I struggled to stifle my disbelief….at one point, when more of them showed up, I had to laugh because of how ridiculous it is, seeing ninjas dressed like that! Mariko, the “princess” and main female character, was beautiful, tall, slim….but her acting was very stiff, especially in the beginning of the movie, at her family’s house. Particularly in Japanese. Her actress is Tao Okamoto, a model turned actress, and it’s clear even without looking up her credentials that this is her first foray in to acting. However she did get better as the movie went on, so I ended up happy. My boyfriend didn’t notice, but then again, he doesn’t undertand a word of Japanese.
When the first trailer was released for The Wolverine, I questioned the casting of Yukio – this is superficial to say but I will say it anyway. She is on the weird and slightly ugly-but-not-quite-ugly side (again, something that works well with models but one is not accustomed to seeing in movies). Turns out, her strange looks fit her character VERY well, and I completely love her.
This movie REALLY made me want to go to back to Japan! Except for a certain scene (which is also in the trailers…a quiet, snowy village), which felt somewhat like a small set, Japan was shown off very well and quite accurately. My LEAST favourite scene in the first trailer was the train fight – it very obviously looked unfinished and they really shouldn’t have included it if they weren’t finished compositing that scene. But in the movie itself, that was actually a GREAT and very memorable, exciting scene! They set it up so well, you could feel the urgency, feel the 300mph speed, feel Logan and the gangsters struggle not only against each other but against the laws of physics :P
I left the theater unsure of whether I considered The Wolverine a good movie or not. But now that I’ve had a couple hours to digest it, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. It’s not the best movie, but I’m glad I saw it. The atmosphere was great, the introspection Logan had was great, and the beginning action scenes were delicious. The villains and their schemes were forgettable, but perhaps that is why I am liking the movie more and more in hindsight. It’s worth a watch…but I’m still not sure about whether it’s worth the full, $14.50 ticket price of a NYC theater. But if you can get it for less than that, it’s an enjoyable watch; just ignore the plotholes and enjoy the drama!
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)