Finding ourselves alone on a Thursday night, having dispersed our three children to two sets of happy grandparents, my husband and I decided on a whim to go see a late movie. No little voices would be waking us up that night or early the next morning, so we caught the late showing of The Wolverine.
Yet another in a recent slew of superhero films, The Wolverine is a part of a series based on the X-Men comic books. Ever-popular Hugh Jackman stars as the angsty Logan, who is called to Tokyo to visit a mysterious man from his past. When he arrives, he is immediately drawn into family drama as the patriarch passes away and leaves the lucrative company to his granddaughter. Several forces collide as the Japanese mob, a mysterious band of archers, and an endless supply of henchmen all pursue the innocent granddaughter to seize power of the company. The Wolverine determines to save her from her attackers.
Jackman’s character, Logan, shows a zeal for justice and an inclination to protect and rescue others. Early in the movie, he saves the life of a soldier who is keeping him captive and refuses any remuneration or gift. His remorse over past violence haunts him and he shuns society for the protection of others as much as for his own preferences.
The movie pursued an intriguing theme of the burden of eternal life on earth, particularly a life with no purpose. While the theme was very promising, it was poorly developed, and abandoned altogether as Wolverine continues his life of restless wandering.
Wolverine’s sidekick throughout the film is a street-tough, redheaded young Japanese woman who was plucked off of the streets as an child orphan to be a part of the wealthy family at the center of the story. Her character reflects the truth that people of all demographics have value, virtue, and a significant part to play in the story of life. She is ridiculed by the haughty, prideful father-figure, but she proves to be the most loyal to the family name in the end.
As a character, The Wolverine is meant to be fiery and tempestuous, but his impetuous nature was frustrating. He rarely stopped to think through any scenario or listen to others; he was all brawn and no brain. For me, this made for a less interesting movie. Rather than thinking of clever ways to outwit his enemies, or stopping to think at all, we watch Hugh Jackman barge into scene after scene only to get beaten, sliced, and shot to death over and over again (although he does a fair amount of impaling with his wolf claws). It began to feel like a more violent version of GroundHog’s Day.
As a strong male character, Wolverine has a chance to shine in strength and integrity, but falls flat at being a lover or a fighter. Although he is haunted by his part in the death of his first love, he enters into another relationship with the young Japanese girl he is protecting, exposing her to the dangers of his bestial nature. Real men show self-control, but Hollywood has yet to learn that, and Wolverine reflects it.
The movie contains some use of foul language and an excessive amount of violence. The Wolverine manages to get killed in a ridiculous amount of ways, including being severed in two by a Japanese sword more than once. He is able to sustain all of these injuries due to his mutant quality of rapid healing, but as the shot wounds and sword slices pile up, you begin to wonder if he has any fighting skills at all.
If you miss this film, you’re life will not be incomplete, but if you just want some mindless entertainment and happen to love comic books-turned-movies, go see it.