Movie review: the Wolverine (2013)

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WARNING: MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS INSIDE

The X-Men were probably my first introduction to the superhero franchise. I used to watch the cartoon (along with the Spider-Man one) when I was a wee young girl. I`ve followed all the X-Men movies, and Wolverine has always been one of my favourite characters. Apparently I like my heroes grumpy but righteous.

The first Wolverine movie, I have to admit, I don`t remember particularly well. It was entertaining, sure, but possibly more because of a shirtless Hugh Jackman (hey, I`m a girl, I`m allowed to see this as a bonus) than because of the story.

This new Wolverine movie though, definitely makes up for the last one. The story is interesting and compelling, the action is (as usual) edge-of-the-seat, and the addition of the new setting and new characters just make it all the better. The idea of Wolverine, the immortal one, losing his immortality is a very interesting one. I like how much the story was actually about this, about essentially losing everything you are and being pulled out of your own world and having to find a way to deal with it. It was a story of recovery, of re-finding a purpose. It`s a theme I heartily approve of, considering how I struggle with the same thing on a daily basis.

That said though, I do, of course, have some criticism.

For starters, I felt like the whole yakuza/Black Clan/Viper/fiancée/minister-club of Bad Guys got a bit much at times. You`d know all the time that the Viper was the main Villain, but she felt quite pushed away by everything else going on. We still don`t know what her main reasons were, what was her motive, her drive? And why were the yakuza here? Who were all those other people? Most reasons were probably given in the movie, but it was a bit hard to keep track of at times with all those people running around, chasing after each other.

And then there`s Yukio. She was such an interesting character, but she was put aside for Moriko, who (no offence) kind of let herself be dragged around and just went with the flow and didn`t actually do all that much. Yukio did actually show a lot of skill. She has emotions, backstory, she was really very kick-ass, and I kind of hope to see more of her in future movies.

Speaking of Moriko though, I didn`t really like how she turned into a love interest. She`s the granddaughter of the guy Logan saved in WWII, so this felt a bit creepy. I know that there`s literally no person with whom Logan does not have a huge age gap and I won`t expect him to just be alone all the time, but Moriko? I wasn`t feeling it.
Also, she was supposed to be a master in knives? Yet she barely used it even when knives were all around her. She showed some potential here and there, just to let it slip away again.

She`s not a bad character, don`t get me wrong. I was glad she wasn`t just there to be the Damsel in Distress, she did serve a good purpose, she had her own goals and dreams, and was obviously struggling to reconcile this with her Japanese culture and the expectations thrust upon her with the prospect of having to run this big, important company. As much as she was helping Logan recover from losing Jean, Logan also (unknowingly) helped Moriko stand on her own two feet and be more confident in who she is and what she wants.

Oh wow, I did not mean to have so many rants. I actually did really enjoy this movie, and pet peeves aside I am very tempted to go and watch it again because it`s a pretty darn good movie. Predictable? Yes. No huge plot twists? Correct. Obviously aimed at mass entertainment? Yep. Very much enjoyable and will drag you right along on an epic journey that makes you feel all the feels? Yes.

Hugh Jackman was in very good shape (literally and figuratively) as Logan. I always enjoy seeing him as Wolverine, because he has the character down so incredibly well it always surprises me when I see him outside of the movies and he`s suddenly this nice Aussie bloke. But he`s still a perfect fit for Wolverine, and I hope he`ll keep making these movies for a long while to come.

Finally, some kudos to the movie for using actual Japanese actors who speak actual Japanese and that it`s filmed in actual Japan. It made me, as someone who studied Japanese and who has lived there, feel very nostalgic for Japan, but somehow in a good way that also made me smile.

All in all, I put this movie amongst the must-see`s of 2013. If you`re a superhero-genre fan, that is. There`s a lot of potential in this movie for more, there`s definitely a lot that could have been better. But overall I`m very happy with this movie and can`t really wait for 1)the DVD, and 2)the new X-Men movie next year.

Speaking of which, there`s a short scene in between the credits that`s definitely worth waiting for. Trust me. STAY. 

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