Saturday, March 08, 2014

"The Wolverine": one-paragraph review

"The Wolverine" (XMTW) continues the Marvel moviemakers' obsession with the Wolverine character. Hugh Jackman's gritty, muscular portrayal is, I admit, compelling, but I often feel the other X-Men are getting short shrift. XMTW takes Logan, the Wolverine, from the Yukon to Japan as he meets an old friend from World War II, Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), a Japanese soldier saved by Logan when Nagasaki was hit with the atom bomb. Now a rich, powerful old man dying of cancer, Yashida claims he wishes to repay his debt by giving Logan mortality—a trait that Logan, who suffers nightmares and questions life's meaning, has long craved. Yashida is the CEO of his own enormous conglomerate and has been doing scientific research on two properties of Logan's existence: his adamantium skeletal supports (and claws), and his super-regenerative ability. Yashida bequeaths his conglomerate to his granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), much to the consternation of Yashida's son, Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada). Mariko is slated to wed Noburo (Brian Tee), the Minister of Justice, but she finds herself falling for Logan, who saves her life from a Yakuza attack during Yashida's funeral. Along for the ride is Yukio (Rila Fukushima), Mariko's adoptive sister—a fighting expert and mutant able to foresee people's deaths. XMTW is watchable but predictable; I figured out who most of the real bad guys were before the film was halfway done. Logan's own character arc is interesting, though, as he moves from being a man with a death-wish clinging to the past to someone who sees that life, even an immortal life, is worth living. The end-credits scene adds a little spice to the film: Logan meets Magneto (Ian KcKellen) at airport security, as well as an apparently resurrected Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), thus setting the stage for "X-Men: Days of Future Past." In all, XMTW is worth at least one viewing. It's fun and not very deep, but it offers plenty of eye-candy. Oh, and watch out for the Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). She nasty.


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