Let me cut to the chase. I really, really liked this movie.
With First Class & now The Wolverine, FOX has got me excited
about the X-Men Cinematic Universe again, and I am less concerned about uniting
the X-Men & Avengers universes today than I was yesterday. Bring on some Days of Future Past!
Positives: Logan has a clear character arc in this story. I had worried about how they were going to play Wolverine losing his powers, but the solution to that was well within my limits of verisimilitude (believability/suspension of disbelief). … Mariko was excellently cast. At no time did I think, “Oh, that’s an Asian-American trying to be a native Asian.” She really felt like a genuine Japanese citizen, yet her interaction with the Westerner Logan was believable, and understandable. Mariko was a genuine, modern, global character. (The attraction between the characters may have been a bit forced. But that just may be the fact that I know he is 100+ and she looks 16) … Some will dislike the action. We’ve become accustomed to big, epic, totally unrealistic visuals in our comic book action movies. The Wolverine has limited explosions (except for one REALLY big one), and no characters are able to fly or jump 80 feet straight into the air. Magneto is not lifting a ship right out of the sea, there is no giant flying mechanical worm being destroyed by the Hulk, and Superman isn’t destroying an entire city of collateral damage. The action is ninja and samurai action. And it is good. The one really “not reality” action scene is a fight/chase atop a bullet train. The action there is original (not quite anything we’ve seen before) and is exciting. … The flashback scene is very interesting and adds yet another layer to the rich history of the Wolverine character. … Best of all, this Wolverine movie does not introduce a beloved character (ahem … Deadpool) and then change absolutely everything about that character. … The now-necessary mid-credits scene is one of the best extra scenes in a comic book movie since Nick Fury uttered the words “Avengers Initiative” in Iron Man.
Negatives: Viper seems to be totally unnecessary to the plot. At certain times during the movie, she is played as the main villain. It felt to me like certain scenes were filmed for an earlier version of the script where the Viper character was central to the plot. By the end of the movie, she was totally unnecessary for the story that they told. … There is one kick-butt ninja who is hero during most of the movie, but in a not-really-that-well-explained scene, he is a villain. Then he turns hero again a few scenes later. … Every comic book movie seems to need a twist these days (ahem … Mandarin). The twist in The Wolverine was telegraphed by a just-a-little-too-obvious hint by the clairvoyant mutant about 1/3 of the way into the movie. But I found the twist satisfying. … The Juggernaut in X3 was made a mutant. That never bothered me because his purpose in the movie was to look cool and smash stuff, and that doesn’t require a 25 minute backstory. Most fans, though, have grown to despise making the Juggernaut a mutant. Well, for those who agree with the last sentence, there is one character who is important to the Wolverine mythology who is supposed to be a mutant, but in this movie is not a mutant.
Verdict: A … I want to give it an A+, but that would put it on par with The Avengers and The Dark Knight, & I’m quite sure The Wolverine isn’t THAT good. Part of the reason I like it so much is because it is not X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which left a bad taste in my mouth. … I anticipate some comic book movie fans disliking the movie, for reasons already stated. But I firmly believe that if those same fans would tone down their preconceived expectations and let the movie be a movie, I think they would admit that it is good and it is fun. I will see it at least one more time.