I really liked this film. I thought I’d enjoy it (it is Marvel, after all), but I ended up enjoying The Wolverine even more than I thought I would. I also liked going into the cinema knowing little about what I was in for, having not seen the full version of the trailer, and having little idea of the plot, other than Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) goes to Asia and fights some ninjas. The only one of the X-Men films that I’ve seen is First Class (which I loved), and I’ve seen about half an hours’ worth of the first hour or so of X-Men (it was on TV the other week. I was flicking between that and At World’s End. Despite having AWE on DVD, I ended up watching that instead!). So I know a bit about the background/X-Men world, but I’m not as up with it as I am with the Avenger’s universe.
Also, it’s good to point out: Wolverine and X-Men, although Marvel, are owned by 20th Century Fox, whereas Disney has the rights to the rest of the Marvel Universe. So although there’s cross-over in the comic-books, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be a film cross-over (though I’d love to see Logan and Capt. Rogers swapping WWII stories).
But back to The Wolverine.
Warning! There will now be spoilers below!
I thought that the basic storyline for The Wolverine was quite similar to that of Iron Man 3, in that our hero (Logan/Tony Stark), is trying to recover from some pretty serious emotional/physical trauma. They have to let go of what happened, accept that it did, but now it has past. In the mean-time, some fights happen, some stuff gets blown up, and to conclude, they set things up for the future instalment of their respective franchises, be it X-Men: Days of Future Past or The Avengers: Age of Ultron (more on DoFP later).
My fellow country-man Hugh Jackman was his usual buff self, spending a fair amount of the film shirtless or in just a singlet/vest, and sporting a rather Jean Valjean haircut in the opening scenes (before he is bathed and cleaned up by a couple of Japanese grannies, “I feel violated”). And I couldn’t help thinking that every time Mariko (Tao Okamoto) asked “who is Jean?”, Logan was going to break into “I’ve Jean Valjean!” Too much Les Mis for me, obviously.
There are a lot of fight scenes in this film. I think one about every 15 minutes wouldn’t be over-estimating! Logan is constantly fighting with ninjas or samurais or just general henchmen. The scene on top of the bullet-train is particularly good fun, as is the following scene, when Mariko and Logan end up hiding out in a ‘love hotel’, then getting some rather important assistance from a veterinary student. Most of the film followed the simple formula of: flashback, Jean-dream, plot development, fight scene, repeat. But heck, it was great fun.
And of course, this being a Marvel film, you have to stay for the credits to get the extra scene at the end, which, in this case, was a MASSIVE set-up for DoFP. I can’t believe that after all these years, people STILL leave Marvel films before the end of the credits! Do they honestly not know that the extra scene is there? Anyway, in this scene, we see Logan at an airport. Suddenly, all the metal objects start wobbling – then bam! There’s Ian McKellen/Gandalf/Magneto behind him! But Magento wants Logan’s help. Logan’s all “F*** no.” But then we notice that everyone in the background has stopped moving, and out of the crowd wheels Patrick Steward/Charles Xavier! He tells Logan that they need his help, and he (Logan) has to help them. Does it make me excited for DoFP? Oh yes.
Photos from The Wolverine official website.