The Wolverine (d. James Mangold Australia/USA 2013)

The Wolverine (d. James Mangold Australia/USA 2013)

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews.


Wolverine is probably the most popular character from X-Men. Quickly, what started with X-Men (d. Bryan Singer USA 2000) became a series and birthed a spin off. It’s not the only one, being similar to the more recent Iron Man (d. Jon Favreau USA 2008), that operates in the reverse (Iron Man, births The Avengers (d. Joss Whedon USA 2009) an ensemble super hero film). Wolverine is the sequel of the sequel of the spin-off of the sequel of the sequel of X-Men. If I make it seem long and drawn out, it is. As previously stated, Hollywood is long exhausting as many franchises as it can, giving a boring predictable hash after the next that sours your memory of any of the films. This is the case for many films (films), and I shouldn’t judge the film just for doing the same. Though, it makes certain storylines predictable and boring with the twists similarly predictable. Wolverine our very indestructible friend, here is given an Alien³ (d. David Fincher USA 1989) treatment. All the while, taking up the ‘American film out of America’ theme, that has been quite prevalent recently. So Nihong ni…


You Only Live Twice (d. Lewis Gilbert UK 1967) paved a very similar sequel to Wolverine, taking a local hero to another country to make the film interesting. However, in many ways You Only Live Twice was incredibly racist in its approach. This was a film that romanticises a western impression of the Japanese. The Japanese was seen as a weird, sometimes backward culture that was also very sexist – “In Japan, men come first and women come second”. This gives a poor impression of Japan whilst also reaffirming a fetishist’s idea of the Japanese woman through a westerner’s eyes. In many ways Wolverine can be seen as an improvement upon this depiction, however, it still is through a westerner’s eyes. What is Japan but Ninjas, samurais, love hotels, bullet trains, gamers, businessmen, yakuza, technology crazed people and with a strong sense of pride and honour? Where the film attempts some complex characters: characters facing the devastation of Nagasaki and the emotional troubles of a family and its status/history. The film tries, and is far more faithful than You Only Live Twice. But Wolverine still falls into judgement, as it can all be solved by Wolverine – especially if he punches you in the face and says “In English!”


Alien³ was a film about death. (SPOILER: Alien³) The film constantly hints at the death of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) the title character, and sets you up for such an event. Wolverine follows a similar development, foreshadowing his likely death and weakening state. This being a plot device of a sequel – take the indestructible and construct suspense by making him/her/it destructible. Iron Man 3, also made use of a similar plot device, as did The Dark Knight Rises (d. Christopher Nolan USA/UK 2012). There would be only two outcomes, his death or his resurrection. This, I am begrudgingly admitting, works well to give tension and suspense throughout the film. Though it is, at times, predictable.


The film is an action film, but an action removed from action. The film gives enough time to character and plot to give a decent story but could drag for those who were expecting the straight out action film. In fact fight sequences are inconsistent with each other. Some are elaborate and exciting whilst others minimal and bland. The film has its problems but is exciting enough.


Further Reading

The Wolverine Official Site

Hugh Jackman Official Site

Tao Okamoto Official Site

Interview with Rila Fukushima

Interview with Hugh Jackman

Interview with Hiruyoki Sanada, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima

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