I grew up watching the X-Men animated series and later on read the X-Men comic books when I was old enough. Like many, I’ve often rolled my eyes and cringed at the film portrayal of the X-Men series in the past. Especially with the travesty of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. I’m sure many of us would love to forget that movie. But I must say, “The Wolverine” finally displays and portrays traits of the character properly.
Hugh Jackman is reunited with his character “Wolverine”, responsible of establishing his international career. Although it is based after the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand”, there are flashbacks that reveal the character’s past prior to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. This may sound confusing, but it’s actually really quite easy to follow if you have seen all of the X-Men film series. So in a way, I guess you could say you could forget about that horrible film if you wanted to.
I was very impressed by the storyline as a whole. Maybe perhaps because I’m biased and I’ve always adored Japanese culture, but I really thoroughly enjoyed this film. Whilst not absolutely amazing, the film was still good and I have seen it twice already since starting this entry. The acting in this film is great. Haruhiko Yamanouchi and Ken Yamamura are both brilliant as “Yashida (both younger and older portrayals)”, Wolverine‘s old dying friend from the past. Hiroyki Sanada is great as “Shingen”, the son of Yashida that hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps one day. I actually adore Hiroyki Sanada and have been a fan of his since I first discovered him in “The Ring (the Japanese original film)” and am always overjoyed when I see him in international media.
I can’t believe that Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto whom both play the characters “Yukio” and “Mariko” respectively were both models previously, and this is their first feature film role ever. They are both extremely talented actresses. I was highly impressed by both their performances and I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for their works in the future. I just hope they don’t limit themselves to just acting in Japan.
If I had to pick a stand out performance, it would have to be Rila Fukushima‘s as Yukio. She was so gracious, sensitive, gentle and kind, yet feisty, strong, and fearless at the same time. She made Yukio real, likeable and relatable. I love that. I definitely believe she had the best performance throughout the entire cast in this film.
The filming of this movie makes it look like it was filmed entirely in Japan. So knowing that it was filmed mostly in Sydney, Australia, I couldn’t help but start laughing when I recognised one of the sets to be the Chinese Garden of Friendship. I have been there many times, recognised the backdrop straight away, and couldn’t help but start laughing at my discovery. Despite this, I am inspired to visit countryside Japan after the viewing of this film. I guess that is a good thing?
As a character, I’ve never cared much for Wolverine. I have my own favourites in the series and Wolverine was never one of them. That being said, this is the most that I have liked Wolverine in a long time, and I believe that’s saying something. Perhaps because Hugh Jackman is playing the role? Or perhaps this is because he has a decent storyline for once? I’m not sure, but I can say that The Wolverine has finally found a formula that works.
To conclude, The Wolverine is a good solid film that finally does the character justice and successfully reopens the door for the X-Men series to be embraced by old and new fans alike once more. With mystery, suspense, character history, love and action, I believe this film has definitely delivered what it set out to achieve. I highly recommend watching The Wolverine if you get a chance to. And make sure you stay during the credits or you’ll miss out on something special.