The Wolverine is awful. There. I said it. Now it’s out of the way. There’s no need to sugarcoat anything. I’m not happy to be saying these things, because I really really wanted this to be good. After seeing it I would’ve settled for mediocre. I didn’t even get that. What I got was about 20 minutes of a fairly decent Wolverine picture and then an hour and half of utter garbage that was so nonsensical as to make my brain hurt.
The first twenty minutes are the lead in to a fantastic film. Hugh Jackman’s Logan is living in the wilderness emotionally torturing himself over what he did to Jean Grey in a previous X-Men movie. He has made a vow of nonviolence and feels that the best way to accomplish this is to remove himself from society. He is an immortal with suicidal ideations. Disrupting his self-loathing is Yukio (Rila Fukashima) who would like him to return with her to Tokyo so that a dying man that Logan saved during World War 2 can properly say goodbye. He reluctantly agrees because without which there would be no plot. Upon his meeting the old man asks Logan if he would be interested in a way for him to get rid of his mutant powers. A team of scientists have developed a way to transfer mutant powers somehow. The process is never explained which is good because the answer would probably be mind-bogglingly stupid. Logan says no in a knee jerk reaction and then heads to solitude to brood over the thought of death and what it means to him. He is awakened in the night to find out that the old man, has died. For some reason Logan attends the very ceremonial funeral and is allowed to interact as if he was family. During the funeral the granddaughter of his old acquaintance is kidnapped by the Yakuza. There is a chase scene involving a bullet train that is pretty enjoyable to watch and Logan’s new friend Yukio shows that she can be fairly handy with a sword as well. From here on Logan is faced with the consequences of choices he’s made and must face his own inner demons to find of what is worth living for when you’re immortal. Just kidding. After the chase scene Logan has a really odd (and kind of creepy) romantic fling and then he gets to beat up lots of people.
I suppose the character Viper would be considered the villain of the film even though as a villain she is surprisingly devoid of a plan or motivations. She is played by Svetlana Khodchenkova and has absolutely no reason to be in this movie. Although I did find her to look incredibly like Joan Cusack. Every line she says sounds like it was written by a non-actor who was told to ad-lib some evil movie villain dialogue.
This film sets up lots of possible paths in the first act. Wolverine has always been his own worst enemy and it would be really enjoyable to see a movie about him struggling with his own psyche. Even though it looks like that’s where they’re taking us when the first act ends there is an abrupt tonal shift and the film never comes anywhere near good again. In fact, the latter part of the movie is so bad it pretty much negates anything positive about the beginning. Characters act in incomprehensible ways for reasons that are never explained. Plot points are offered up and then dropped without resolutions. There is a sect of ninjas in this movie that are so ridiculously cliched and over-the-top that they more closely resemble the Foot Clan from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than anything I’ve ever heard about actual Japanese culture.
This is a bad film. I don’t think there is much else that can be said for it. I was relieved when the credits started rolling. As usual with almost any movie these days there is a teaser add on at the end. Mercifully it came mid credits instead of at the very end so I could get out of the theater faster. The teaser was probably the most sensational thing that had been on the screen since the first act ended and some audience members at my screening started cheering and clapping during it as if they had forgotten that they just saw almost two hours of garbage. Maybe this film was so disposable that the audience forgot how bad it was mid credits. I wish I could forget it.