WITH Christmas just around the corner, stockings will be in serious need of filling, so what better than a Blu-ray or DVD to fill the hole. Here we review summer blockbuster, The Wolverine, the second solo outing of Hugh Jackman’s iconic character.
I’m going to admit something early on here; I am a huge fan of comics, especially superheroes. Although Spider-Man has been my favourite since childhood, and remains so, I happy indulge myself in any superhero I can get my hands on. So you would understand my disappointment at the original Wolverine standalone picture, Wolverine: Origins. It was a terrible film and as a result I was filled with dread when The Wolverine came around. However, I am happy to report that all is well here for, arguably, the biggest of the X-Men.
The movie starts as in Japan with Nagasaki being obliterated by a B-29 bomber and the nuclear bomb known as Fat Man. In all of this mayhem we find Logan, aka The Wolverine, as a prisoner of war. Logan is quickly saved by a Japanese officer, and returns the favour by taking the brunt of the blast whilst the soldier cowers underneath a lead door.
After that, we are fired forward to the present day. We find our titular hero in a sorry state after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand where he was forced to kill his love interest Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). As a result he is bearded, living rough and tormented by visions of Miss Grey. Despite vowing never to kill anyone again, he is soon tracking down hunters who have used illegal means to hunt a bear, which he encounters suffering from a fatal arrow wound in the woods (can you see the metaphor yet?), and finds them in a local bar. Before he can kill them all in a typical Wolverine rage however, he is stopped by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), an employee of the man he saved in World War II, and whisked away to Japan. Here begins a convoluted tale involving the Yakuza, indestructible samurai and a new love interest in the beautiful Mariko (Tao Okamato) who of course sees him as something to love.
Arguably the best bits of this movie come in the middle. We are treated to numerous fight scenes with the Yakuza and Samurai alike, the best being an excellent showdown on top of a moving bullet train. Naturally that would seem like an unfair fight, but a clever plot twist from director Mangold involves Logan having lost his powers, as a result of being poisoned by fellow mutant Viper, and so his healing factor and animalistic senses are on hold. He is blasted with shotguns and stabbed to slow him down and allow Jackman a new dimension to play with the character, something he delivers superbly.
Sadly, the films ending is not worthy of that which precedes it. The final showdown feels out of place with that which came before, and ruins what up to that point had not been too bad with bad CG and plot turns that are confusing to say the least. There is however a nifty after credits scene that will set fan boy and girls hearts a flutter, it certainly got me excited.
An improvement on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with a good plot and very satisfying fight scenes. Sadly it is let down by a poor ending and some clichés that are not really needed. It is however a great stocking filler and Japan is rather beautiful on Blu-ray.
Chester Intelligencer reporter, Sean Lunt
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