I may like X-Men Origins, but the sequel is far superior. Origins was really just meant to show us why Logan doesn’t have any memories of his past when we first meet him in the first X-Men movie. However, this film is not only a sequel to that, but to X-Men: The Last Stand, which allows for some actual further development of the Logan we saw in the X-Men trilogy.
This leads into both a positive and a slight negative. I like that Logan will frequently have these sort of visions of Jean trying to convince him to let go and be with her. I actually have a theory on what exactly was happening when we saw her. The first time we see Jean at the beginning of the movie, Logan is talking with her about how he hates that he had to kill her, despite that he had no choice. But I don’t think we were seeing Jean. For one, in these scenes, she’s full on in love with him, despite that through the course of the 3 X-Men movies, Logan had an attraction toward her, while Jean was devoted to her relationship with Scott. When she made out with him in that one scene in X3, that wasn’t Jean. It was the Phoenix trying to manipulate him. Maybe when Logan killed her at the end of X3, before she died, the Phoenix placed at least a small part of its consciousness into his brain without him noticing, and all of her talk about him letting himself die is actually just the Phoenix trying to get revenge on him. Mind you, that would raise the question of why Jeans final departure, for lack of a better term, wasn’t more violent or something, but it’s just a theory. My only issue is that, I kind of wish we saw more of her. Instead of just these few hallucination scenes where he’s alone with her, why not have it like one of those things we see in shows and movies where a character sees a dead character but only he can see them and if they talk to them, the other characters that are actually there will wonder who he’s talking to. Was Famke Janssen just busy at the time and could only be on set for a few days or something? Either way, it was great to see her again and it does provide for some nice character progression for Logan.
What I also love is the setting. Tokyo is just a cool environment in film. It just has such a distinct and interesting look to it, whether it’s showing off the high-tech cities or some of the smaller village areas. I love it! What’s also great is all the samurai elements that are integrated into the story. That aspect of Japanese culture is just so fascinating to me and it makes for some great themes in the story and some fun action sequences. The best fight in the movie is when Wolverine gets his healing factor restored and faces off with Shingen. Also, Wolverine fighting ninjas. Awesome!
Something I find conflicting is the final battle with the giant Silver Samurai Mech. It’s a fun battle but I feel like I should consider it something totally out of left field since there wasn’t anything else like it in the rest of the film. And yet, it didn’t bother me. In fact, it kinda felt natural for some reason and the design for the mech is cool. I don’t know, maybe it’s because the next X-Men movie that was coming was Days of Future Past, which I knew would feature the Sentinels. So maybe I was just ready to see giant robots.
The acting is pretty good for the most part. As I said, the element of the Jean Grey hallucinations makes for some great progression for Logans character and Hugh Jackman handles it fantastically. My personal favorite of the new additions is Rila Fukushima as Yukio. She has a lot of energy, has some cool fight scenes and she and Hugh Jackman have some fun banter. It’s disappointing that we won’t see her again, but I’ll get to that later. And is it just me, or does Svetlana Khodchenkova’s Viper make a better Poison Ivy than Uma Thurman, despite the character not being Poison Ivy?
I don’t really have any complaints apart from one that connects to some things that are established by the end. For example, Logan’s romance with Mariko, played by Tao Okamoto, feels kind of rushed, but they’re still together in a sense by the end, so it’s possible their relationship could have been expanded upon in another movie. The movie also ends with Yukio leaving Japan with Logan, jokingly referring to herself as his bodyguard. But again, the next X-Men film after this was Days of Future Past, which was a time travel story that ended with the timeline being reset and every movie released prior, except for First Class, being erased. Why are the two never even mentioned in Days of Future Past. We don’t even see any flashes of them in the scene where the MvAvoy Xavier looks into Logans memories. And what was the point of the scene where he let’s go of his guilt over killing Jean if they were going to just resurrect her at the end(speaking of which, I will do reviews for the main X-Men movies leading up to X-Men: Supernova, whenever that comes out.)? I guess you could make the argument that that’s more of a complaint about Days of Future Past, but that’s why I only talked about what from this was erased.
This isn’t really a complaint but rather just something I’m curious about. The movie opens with Logan in Japan right before the bombing of Hiroshima in World War II. Logan and Victor’s falling out wasn’t until around or some time in the 80’s, so where was he? Was he in another prison camp or something and they met up later?
Other than that, there’s really not much to complain about with this movie. It’s not without flaws, but they aren’t nearly as numerous as the flaws with X-Men Origins. It’s a solid entry in Wolverines story with a good story and fun action. The Wolverine gets 4/5 Samurai Swords.
Next time, we bring this Wolverine Retrospective to a close with one last ride for Hugh Jackman in the role.