Review by Tres
I want to first start by stating that this Wolverine is NOT a continuance of the Origins: Wolverine (2009) movie. This story actually follows the X-Men 3: The Last Stand (2006). In the end of The Last Stand (sorry if you are unaware), Logan approaches Jean Gray as the Dark Phoenix spirit is controlling her and she is killing mutants (good and bad). The true Jean Gray breaks through for a brief moment and pleads for Logan’s help, and he chooses the right path for the good of all; he kills her. The majority of THIS movie deals with his internal struggle of guilt from that decision.
The opening part of the movie takes us to Japan, when Logan is a POW during WWII and we drop the bomb. A military officer, Yashida, went to release Logan from a dry well which is his holding cell. Logan knows what is about to transpire and that there is no way for them to run from the bomb and he ends up saving the officer.
Then we jump to the present: hermit Logan. He is suffering from nightmares that involve heart-to-hearts with Jean when they discuss their love and he vows to never hurt anyone again…to then see he is stabbing her once again. He wakes up with long hair, a Duck Dynasty beard, and sleeping on rocks in the wilderness on a mountain. He wakes to walk into town and has a bizarre, but peaceful, interaction with a grizzly bear.
Next scene: There are problems with the grizzly bear and Logan goes looking for justice. He realizes that he’s about to break his promise to Jean of not hurting anyone, but he’s ready for the claws to come out. Enter Yukio and her samurai sword. The “justice” is not an issue with Yukio there; she handles it quite simply. Then she and Logan leave together. She tells him that she has been looking for The Wolverine for a year. At this Logan adamantly tells her that he is no longer that person. They then get into a banter of Yukio, “You are a warrior.” And Logan, “Not anymore.” Yukio, “You are a warrior.” Logan, “Not anymore.”
As I watched this both times the scripture James 4:17 (“To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”) kept playing in my mind. Logan was running from having killed the woman he loved. Logan was running from his past partners, the X-Men. Logan was running from the death of a mentor, Charles Xavier. Logan was running from life. This kept tearing at him.
Logan knew the life and role he needed to be living; however, he was running away and not doing it. The internal turmoil was tearing him up. Maybe this turmoil was the reason he finally stopped to listen to Yukio. Then she finally reveals to him that she is sent by Yashida who has aged and is dying and wishes to say goodbye to his once savior.
Being convinced to return to Japan, Logan encounters an aged Yashida who is dying and seeking some healing power from Logan. He tells Logan that he can end his life of suffering and give him mortality. Logan is taken back from the request and ends up storming out telling Yashida, “You don’t want what I got.” Three things then happen, 1) a dream and kiss with Jean that turns into a freaky kiss with Yashida’s nurse, 2) an interaction with Mariko, Yashida’s granddaughter, and 3) Yashida dies.
The majority of this movie takes place in Japan, so this is truly a largely international cast of actors. In such case, when Logan attends the funeral, He is one of two “white” people in the entire scene. In the movie, this is where the action begins. With a rival gang attacking at the funeral, Logan comes to the aide of Mariko. I don’t want to give a lot away about the movie, but when Logan is shot or cut as he has been during his other 4 movies, he doesn’t heal.
He is determined to protect Mariko though, fights the rival gang, and goes on an investigation to track her down once she is kidnapped. All along, Logan suffers as a regular man for the first time. One such instance is when Logan does some physical labor and then has to sit down because he is just drained and exhausted; not normally a problem for The Wolverine.
Now what I like about this section of the movie is seeing the struggle that Logan experiences. I am a huge Hugh Jackman fan: Wolverine, Robert Angier (Prestige), Leopold, Van Helsing, Jean Valjean, and so many more. What I like about Jackman is his versatility. He can be mean and aggressive and as Wolverine literally tear you apart in his furry. However, he can also show pain and agony and internal struggles like few actors can. When he hurts, he causes you to hurt for him. In this movie I hurt for Logan because he was in a constant struggle. He knows what he is. He knows what his calling is. However, the killing of Jean, the woman that he truly loves, continues to haunt him and tear him up internally. You see that heartache and that struggle as Logan works through the center part of this movie.
When we walk our life and we ignore God’s calling for us, we create a similar internal turmoil. If we know what to do for God, and we don’t, we are sinning. (James 4:17) Even what we think of as the “smallest of sins”, begin to weigh on our hearts. They repeat in our minds over and over, and we have that struggle. Though Logan was working alongside Yukio and creates a relationship with Mariko, he is alone. In the same way, when we sin, though we may be around many, spiritually we are alone. (Isaiah 59:2) We become like a Ronin; a warrior without a master. Such is Logan through the majority of this movie.
As Logan hunts down Mariko and the reason for her kidnapping, with Yukio as his “bodyguard”, he realizes why he isn’t healing. In order to not give things away, I will just say this particular situation reminded me of the first Matrix. He has to then make a decision. Let’s just say, the tide turns. The warrior returns. As James 6:4 describes a new life rises up and the hermit Logan changes course and states, “I’m the Wolverine.”
He is determined to find Mariko. He is determined to save her. When he tracks her down, the revelation of a trap that has been in play for this entire journey comes to a climax in the movie. We then discover the 2 true villains of the movie as they are then found out: Viper and the Silver Samurai. A major fight transpires, secrets are revealed, treachery is apparent, and hearts are broken. The Wolverine sustains wounds that are never expected, but intriguing to the story-line and the reason for the trap that he finds himself in. (Now, some people are disliking the Silver Samurai, but I for one liked it’s design.)
All in all, this is a great movie. It’s not constant action, introduction of different mutants, and mutant clashes as the previous X-Men movies. There is a heartfelt story-line here. There is some real growth and internal struggles in the character of Logan. I truly appreciated the way this comes together and shows us a range of emotions and insights to Logan the Wolverine.
I have three disappointments about this movie. The first, the grizzly bear. I felt like it could appear more real. You’ll understand once you watch it. The second is Viper. I liked the character of Viper, I simply do not understand the decision to change her from a traditionally black/deep brown haired character. Sometimes she was even has deep green hair match her costume. However, since her introduction in 1969, Viper has never been blonde… until now. As a comic book fan and a movie buff, I understand some liberties are going to be taken with characters. (Removing Superman’s curl and his outside underwear for instance.) However, keeping true to her look to me seemed like such an easy thing that took away from her character for me.
Finally, 3D did not make this movie any better. I’m not against 3D: I saw it in 3D first and regular in my second viewing. This one just doesn’t need 3D to be truly enjoyable.
This movie is a 4 out of 5 star for me.
I’ve paid to see it 2 times already, ready to go see it again, and have already searched for it’s Bluray release date (none posted yet).
If you are on the fence of seeing it, take the chance.
A caution: PG-13 is a proper rating for this is a violent film. There’s a lot of fighting, shooting, stabbing, and of course with Wolverine…slicing. I caution you before you take your little superhero fan to see this one on the big screen.
ALSO: Stay for after the initial credits. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say Future and Past.
Everything in the world finds peace eventually.
Yukio, “How did you know there was a pool down there?”
Logan, “I didn’t.”
Logan, “I can’t princess. I’m a warrior and I’ve been gone too long.” *