I have been reading a lot of praise lately for the new Wolverine movie referring to it as the Wolverine movie we have always wanted. I got to tell ya, folks. I completely disagree. Many will argue that X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE was terrible while overlooking the many more faults the new WOLVERINE has. Dare I say that ORIGINS is a better film than the new. Maybe that is going a little too far. Nah, screw it. ORIGINS is a better film overall. While ORIGINS did screw up a lot of Wolverine's back story it did at least have a story you could follow with a strong villain and characters like Wolverine and Sabertooth that had some chemistry together. Liev Schreiber was fantastic. THE WOLVERINE has none of that. Be aware of possible spoilers ahead.
THE WOLVERINE begins in World War 2 with our title character being held captive in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. Yashida, a Japanese officer is releasing all the prisoners knowing that an atomic bomb is about to be dropped on them. Wolverine saves the officer from the bomb blast and all the radiation somehow. Decades later the now old Yashida is dying and seeks Wolverine to give him a gift. That gift, it turns out, is the ability to take away Wolverine's X-Factor and give it to someone else. After rejecting that offer because its stupid, Wolverine gets tangled up in the family drama and ends up saving Mariko, the granddaughter of Yashida from a bunch of bad guys and ninjas and stuff. Oh, and they manage to stop Wolverine from using his healing abilities so now he is vulnerable to bullets, sharp pointy objects and harsh language.
The film does everything in its power to shoot itself in the foot. Over and over again weird little moments happen making me question if anyone paid attention to the script whatsoever. At the beginning this bear that Wolverine kind of sort of befriends has killed a bunch of stereotypical redneck hunters because they used a poison arrow that caused the bear to go crazed. One of the hunters escaped and Wolverine tracks him down in a bar the same night. The hunter lost all his friends and went immediately to a bar instead of the police station. That doesn't make much since. Later THE WOLVERINE descends into an empty and passionless love story. We are shown four too many times that Wolverine is madly in love with the very dead Jean Grey who appears to him in dreams. He opens up and expresses his emotions to this dream girl. However with the very much alive Mariko he merely has the sex with her to show his interest. Its weird and never develops into anything believable. When Yashida dies there is a funeral for him. Wolverine shows up and notices some guy hiding on a nearby roof. Nothing suspicious about that! Wolverine ignores him! But when Wolverine notices a monk participating in the funeral has a tattoo on his arm he jumps into action and starts killing everybody. What if the monk was some reformed junkie or criminal? Wouldn't that be the first thing you would think of? Not kidnapping! It doesn't make sense that the suspicious guy hiding out on the roof that clearly doesn't want to be seen doesn't kick on Wolverine's Spidey Senses while some monk with a tattoo does.
The villains are generic and never pose a real threat to Wolverine. Ultimately the last bad guy Wolverine has to take down is some old guy in a robot suit. That suit by the way contains the power to absorb Wolverine's powers. That is kind of stupid. Wouldn't just a little bit of Wolverine's DNA or whatever be enough? There is this one woman who is a scientist and a venomous mutant called the Viper. I think that was her name. Who cares I guess. She is a little more interesting but really the story doesn't give her much to work with. We could care less about their motivations. They just are not that interesting of characters.
The two characters that work the most together are Wolverine and Yukio. A real movie of their new friendship would have been great and something new and different. Instead once Wolverine is back in Japan she almost completely disappears into the background.
THE WOLVERINE overall feels unfocused and unsure of what the audience wants. We want a badass Wolverine running around killing bad guys with his claws with a smart story that knows how to use him in the most prolific way. Instead we have a muddle mess of a story with unclear motivations for almost all the characters. The fight scenes are incredibly unimpressive with so many shots too close to leave much of a visual impact. Wolverine himself looks like he is just punching people instead of running them through with his trademark claws. The biggest let down of all is at the end when Wolverine confronts an army of ninjas and he says something to the effect that they are going to need more. He couldn't be more wrong. They kick the crap out of him. At first he kills a few of them but then for no reason other than bad writing he tries to run right by all of them. They simply shoot him in the back with a bunch of arrows and down he goes leaving us with the impression that his bark is bigger than his bite. Lame.
By the end of THE WOLVERINE I was left a little cold by the film. It is not one of the worst but it is undeserving of all the praise that seems to be coming from the Nerdosphere out there. I think they are just in denial at this time. In generations to come I believe that THE WOLVERINE will be mostly forgotten lost in the jumble of the better X-MEN films and forth coming AVENGERS movies. Just face the facts ('facts' meaning my unenlightened opinion of myself and not the dictionary definition of), Nerds. THE WOLVERINE at best is ORIGINS equal not better. I do like at the end that they take away Wolverine's adamantium claws. His bone claws come back but I would have loved to have heard the gasps of a theater full of nerds when Wolverine's metal claws were cut from his body. Oh, the humanity! I feel like that scene is like some kind of metaphor for the whole movie. There is not a whole lot of positive to stick your claws into.