Hugh Jackman returns to his iconic role as Logan/Wolverine in 2013’s The Wolverine. It’s directed by James Mangold, the same guy who wrote and directed Walk the Line. He knows how to make a dramatic, Oscar-worthy film. Too bad this is supposed to be an action flick and his directing style drags the film down. It’s a sequel of sorts to X-Men: The Last Stand and you get to see how Logan is handling the death of Jean Grey. The answer is not well. He’s living in the woods, keeps to himself, and dreams about Jean every night. He’s lost his way and has become a broken soldier. All this changes when a mutant precog named Yukio tracks Logan down and brings him to Japan.
It turns out Logan was summoned there by a guy named Yashida, a former Japanese soldier that Logan saved during World War II. Yashida is now the dying CEO of a huge company and he wants to pay his life debt to Logan before he succumbs to cancer. Yashida offers to transfer Logan’s healing abilities into his own body to alleviate him of the curse of immortality. Logan refuses and Yashida passes away. A few days later a few members of the Yakuza try to kidnap Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko, at the funeral. Logan must protect Mariko and find out who tried to kidnap her and why. Only Logan must do it without his trademark healing abilities, which have mysteriously stopped working at that point.
It turns into your stereotypical chase/whodunit movie at that point. It’s like The Bourne Identity. A guy with superior fighting skills and a pretty girl on the run and hiding out from bad guys, they’re trying to solve a mystery and falling for each other at the same time. There’s a lot of unnecessarily sappy dialog and the dramatic scenes slow down the pace to a crawl. The film gets boring. And a film about mutants, particularly the most badass mutant, should never be boring. Having Logan lose his healing powers was a big mistake. It’s so pointless to have a superhero lose his powers. It doesn’t add any tension. You know that he’s going to get them back eventually.
The action scenes are decent, but I expected them to be a lot better. It doesn’t seem like an X-Men movie. There needs to be more spectacle. The best action sequence was the fight on top of the bullet train. The climactic battle was a bit of a let down as well. All in all this is an adequate action film, but a disappointing superhero film. It’s just kind of meh.
Critically Rated at 11/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young