Notable Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Famke Janssen
With the release of Wolverine's second solo effort, this time the confusingly titled "The Wolverine" which is easy to mix up with the general title of his first effort "Wolverine" which in turn was a shortened version of the shitty title for that film "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," we get a film based on the fan acclaimed graphic novel where our titular hero finds himself going to Japan to hang with some ninja and samurai. Luckily, despite the premise seeming like one of those last ditch efforts to make something interesting (let's see Wolvie claw his way around Japan!), "The Wolverine" feels nothing like that. It's dark in tone, simplified for effect, and really focuses Wolverine's character growth. It's everything I wanted from this film.
"The Wolverine" is, at its core, a completely different movie than any "X-Men" film before it. Also at its core, "The Wolverine" is an entire antithesis to the atrocity that was his first solo film. This film is dark, simple, and character driven. While "X-Men Origins" focused on trying to make an X-Men movie out of his solo effort, this film scales itself way back for the majority of its run time and instead focuses on the psyche and growth of our anti-hero - a move that certainly pays off and creates a more serious tone that really engulfs the first two-thirds of the film.
To retain this focus, "The Wolverine" does itself a service by toning down the secondary characters and instead of just throwing random mutants around like its fucking confetti, they build a few strong supporting cast and use them to support the plot and lead. That's a weird concept. A supporting cast that doesn't try to steal every scene? We haven't seen that in a while from an "X-Men" film. I have to also give film credit for not only building impressively strong secondary characters like Wolverine's new 'bodyguard' Yukio and Mariko with actual character arcs, they use fitting cast members of up and comers. I appreciate the fact that they keep most of the secondary characters Japanese to fit the plot and then actually write them as real characters and not flash-in-the-pan broad stroke caricatures. Even smaller roles like that of Mariko's father and her protector Shingen feel far more fitting.
|Believe it or not, she's a character with DEPTH! In a "Wolverine" side film?!
|Giant robot samurai...was Zack Snyder attached this this at some point?
Written By Matt Reifschneider