The highly anticipated “Logan” is currently playing in theatres and gaining high praise left and right. I have yet to see the movie, but I thought I’d prepare myself by watching and reviewing Hugh Jackman’s previous solo outing as the character, “The Wolverine”.
A little disclaimer before the review: I will keep this review – as well as my future reviews – as spoiler free as possible in case you have yet to see whatever it is that I am reviewing. If I do intend on discussing spoilers, I will give a warning beforehand, and with all that out of the way, onto the review.
To keep the plot vague, “The Wolverine” is the story of Logan set after the event of “X-Men: The Last Stand”. We see a beaten, broken Wolverine, who is haunted by the events of “The Last Stand” and thus refuses to return to his killer, Wolverine-like ways, only to find himself pulled into another conflict, one involving his past and something of a familial feud.
Let’s start with what I enjoyed about this movie. First off, the obvious is Hugh Jackman. In my opinion, he has never done wrong by the character. Even in horrendous movies such as “X-Men: Origins”, Hugh still gave us a solid and enjoyable performance and “The Wolverine” is no exception. He has truly made this role his own and knowing “Logan” will be his final outing is truly heartbreaking.
Hugh’s portrayal of the character and the writing put into him in this movie is an interesting one to say the least. As stated earlier, this movie takes place after the events of “The Last Stand” and Logan is haunted by the events of that film; particularly by an event that transpired in the climax of the movie. He feels guilt for his actions and has an arc of sorts dealing with him needing to come to terms with what he had done – an arc which also involves his struggle with mortality, or lack thereof. In many instances it is stated that Logan wishes to die due to his actions in “The Last Stand” – a wish that cannot be fulfilled given his instant healing factor.
Another thing I enjoyed about the movie is the setting and cinematography. The Japanese setting is a beautiful one and the shots of it prove that much. One of my many gripes with “X-Men: Origins” is the insane lacking of visual appeal in that movie. It’s not a well shot movie and, in my opinion, that is not the case with “The Wolverine”. It’s not mind blowing by any means, but it is certainly a sight to behold on more than one occasion.
The action sequences as well are a spectacle in their own right. Fast paced and with little to no dull moments in them. If you want to see Wolverine go berserk and creative with his claws… I would suggest seeing “Logan” instead. But for what it is, “The Wolverine” does a solid job to quench your thirst for some Wolverine action and there is plenty of it to go around.
To dabble more on the technical side, I have to mention the soundtrack. This is something I’ll do occasionally in my reviews: talk about the soundtrack as I am something of a junkie for music composed for movies, shows, and even some games. With that said, I don’t have much to say about the soundtrack to “The Wolverine”. It’s decent for what it is, certainly pleasant to the ears, but forgettable. Not bad by any means, but none truly stood out… save for one track, which you will hear early on in the movie and during a few key moments here and there throughout the movie.
The movie is far from perfect, however. I’d like to put this one nitpick out there: the dialogue. Overall, the dialogue in this movie is solid and the comedic lines are well delivered and got me laughing. My minor gripe is directed towards some of the lines of exposition. While most were on point, a few missed their mark. I can’t say if it was the delivery or the writing, but a few of these lines did fall flat. This is a minor gripe, however, and does not take away from the experience. It’s also likely that I am alone and no one else shares my viewpoint on the matter.
A major issue I have with it is the tone. Overall, the movie takes itself in a serious light with hints of humor sprinkled throughout. The characters and story are taken seriously… when the character of Viper is not on screen. I have nothing against the actress who played this role, but neither her performance nor the writing served the story very well. Like I said, the characters were, for the most part, taken seriously and were portrayed well. Which is why Viper’s over the top nature was distracting and took me out of the movie. If majority of the movie was in line with “Batman Begins”, then Viper was straight out of “Batman Forever” . She served no purpose in the overall plot either and only existed to bring Wolverine to an even playing field.
Sadly, the uneven tone was more prominent in the climax of the film. I won’t give anything away, but the final ‘boss fight’ didn’t feel 100% appropriate to the tone the movie had going for it throughout majority of its run-time. Entertaining, sure, but not completely honest to its overall tone.
All in all, the faults I mentioned don’t take too much from the movie. Overall, it’s an enjoyable film with entertaining action sequences and well thought out chapter for Logan. It’s one of the better X-Men movies, a movie that I definitely recommend, and it will give you a Wolverine fix in anticipation for “Logan”.