Alex Rivera, Editor-in-Chief, @HashtagginAlex
Marvel has disappointed before. “X-Men: The Last Stand” was one of their biggest disappointments as they tried to close that trilogy on a high note. Rather, it looked like they put that together while they were high. The first “Wolverine: Origins” movie wasn’t much better. As a matter of fact, it was worse than “The Last Stand,” missing everything we grew to love about Wolverine. With the other origin movies quickly being scratched after their first Wolverine production, it was a surprise to me that they would attempt a second time on the most popular character of the group of mutants.
This time, they succeeded in delivering an action-packed, character-driven movie that tugged audiences not only at the heart but at the adrenal glands as well. It takes place after the events of “The Last Stand” – a movie we all want to forget – and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is struggling with the loss of Jean Grey. Wolverine has since secluded himself to live in the woods, where no one can bother him except for his constant dreams of Jean. After locals shot down his bear friend with a poisonous arrow – apparently illegal – he shows them up in a bar just inside of town. During this little adventure, a woman by the name of Yukio (Rila Fukushima) “finds” Wolverine and flies him out to Japan to say goodbye to a friend he saved years ago. But this visit wasn’t a goodbye as his friend, Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), seeks power from the regenerating Wolverine and he won’t stop until he receives it.
The Wolverine is one of the best films this summer I must say. With a little bit of everything, it’s hard to touch on every aspect of the film. But there is something to say about what the movie brings that made it stand out from the other summer blockbusters.
Samurai fights. That should be enough to pull you in, but I must expound. The action in the movie is incredible, and it only gets elevated when samurai swords are brought into play. It is awesome to see Wolverine battle off multiple people with his claws and brute force in the middle of a funeral. The fight scene on top of a bullet train is a sight for sore eyes, no matter how ridiculous the idea was. The action in this movie is by far what makes it stand out from other action movies. It’s clean, fun, and is reminiscent of the fights we love in older movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “The Matrix.”
Japanese culture. I, not of a Japanese background, truly appreciated all of the references to the Japanese culture. They did a great job respecting the culture without having too many stereotypes (although, what movie doesn’t have stereotypes of some sort?). With Japanese proverbs and customs throughout, The Wolverine reached out to the Japanese community in a way that only Japanese movies were able to accomplish before.
The after-credit scene. Never have I been so excited for a post-credits tag as I was for the Wolverine. Just so I don’t spoil too much, I’ll just say that it sets up for the “Days of Future Past” movie, due out in 2014. With cameos from X-Men favorites as well as a commercial on TV setting the movie up, I couldn’t help but giggle in my seat as I prepared mentally for the next X-Men movie.
The Wolverine is fun, exciting, and brings us back to the Wolverine of old. This film exceeds all expectations, especially when considering its lackluster Origin movie in 2009. Unfortunately, it’s expectations showed in the box office numbers and I can only hope that a word-of-mouth approach can help this movie reach its box office potential. “The Wolverine” will make you laugh, probably not cry, but keep your adrenaline at an all-time high. With great pacing, action, and a little bit of love, the Wolverine accomplishes the seemingly impossible: resurrection from its deathly Origin debut. I wouldn’t put it on the very top of my list, though it is easily in the top five of the summer hits. If this movie is any indication of “Days of Future Past” as well as other X-Men projects, I might have another pile of movies to add to my collection in years to come.