I went to see The Wolverine today, and I enjoyed it a lot. This demonstrates the appeal of learning as little as possible about a film that you’re interested in before seeing it, since nearly everything that happened was a surprise. It’s much better than Wolverine’s previous film, in part because it’s about humans, not only superhumans.
Although the Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller was one of my earliest Marvel comic reads, I didn’t recall much of it. It serves as the basis for a lot of this film, although the creators are wrongly uncredited. (Not even a “special thanks”.) I did remember that Mariko (Tao Okamoto) was one of the special people in Logan’s life. Most of the film is accordingly set in Japan, after Wolverine’s sacrifice of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) during X-Men: The Last Stand.
My favorite parts were 1) the way Hugh Jackman was wet or bare-chested or both during most of the film and 2) Yukio, played by Rila Fukushima (making her major film debut, according to IMDB). She was a fighter, even if she sometimes dressed like Raggedy Ann, and it was wonderful to enjoy seeing a tough woman kicking butt on-screen. The movie passed the Bechdel Test because several of the women threatened to kill each other instead of just the men. And I was happy to see Mariko could take care of herself as well to an extent.
The purpose of this film, aside from giving us several lengthy-but-dynamic fight scenes, is to bring Logan back to willing to be in contact with the world and use his abilities for justice. The story involves an old friend of his as well as a family dynastic struggle, a debate over whether immortality is a benefit or a curse, and the Viper, a supervillainess (Svetlana Khodchenkova) with poison powers and a ridiculous fondness for wearing green.
(Looked at cock-eyed, it’s also a take on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World — Mariko only has two ex-boyfriends that we know of, but Wolverine takes on both of them, the ninja guy (Will Yun Lee) and the smarmy politician (Brian Tee). Trivia: Director James Mangold previously worked with Hugh Jackman in Kate & Leopold.)
I did nerd out a couple of times, thinking about how Logan and Yukio’s relationship echoed the way Wolverine tends to mentor young women, and wondering why his hands weren’t cut while using his claws during one sequence. Overall, another great Marvel movie, and I recommend seeing it.