I'll be completely honest here (as I'm sure you would appreciate)... Wolverine is not my favorite. He is the most underwhelming of all big-time superheroes, and there have been five movies about him. That's right--count em up: 1) The Wolverine 2) X-Men Origins: Wolverine 3) X-men, which should have been titled "Wolverine Finds the X-Men" 4) X2, which should have been titled "Wolverine Figures Some Stuff Out" 5) X-Men: The Last Stand, which should have been titled "Wolverine Has a Relationship Crisis." Really, I don't think I dislike Wolverine, but rather I wish that the other X-Men could have a bigger spotlight. There is no way that Wolverine's troubled tale is more interesting than every single moment of the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. Unfortunately, when I have this argument with most people, they defend Wolverine, using his immortality as the basis for their argument. Regardless of my distaste for Wolverine, I love the X-Men series and couldn't miss anything concerning any of those cool mutants...
Rarely am I impressed with the action portion of a film, but I will say that the fight scene on top of the train was the best "fight scene on top of a train" that I have ever, ever, ever seen. Additionally, the karate/sword fighting across all of Japan was done fairly well. I'm sure that the great action scenes and the fact that Wolverine has claws distracted many moviegoers into thinking that the plot was really, really good, which is far from true. I was impressed with the amount of depth and complexity that was involved in the plot, considering Wolverine and Jean Grey were the only two characters that we had previously met in the X-Men film world. But, everything was just so predictable, which is always a big negative for me. Unlike many, I don't really try to figure out what's going to happen in a movie, but, instead, I let the drama happen to me at its appropriate time. So, when I claim predictability as an issue, you can trust that I was trying my darnedest to ignore the fact that I had figured out the big twist.
The best part about The Wolverine was the ease with which new characters were introduced to Wolverine's universe. Going into the film, I had no clue what was going to happen or who it was going to happen to. I knew that Hugh Jackman was playing Wolverine, and I knew that Famke Jannsen would return as Jean Grey. Other than that, I had nothing. So, it was a pleasant surprise when I actually liked many of the new characters...
One of the twenty villains, Viper, played by Svetlana Khodchenkova (that's really her name), was easily my least favorite character in the film. Most of this film was grounded with a realistic storyline, but her character and her power was dorky and comic in nature. Another character I did not care for was Will Yun Lee's Harada, who really confused me. There was never a clear answer to whether or not he was a good or bad guy, and that bothered me.
Although she was a bit young for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, Tao Okamoto's Mariko was actually a very great character. I thought she might not turn out to be worth Wolverine's time, but I liked her. Actually, I liked the other Asian-female character as well--Yukio (played by Rila Fukushima). These names are insane! Nevertheless, they were good. Kudos to whoever did the casting for The Wolverine... Job well done!
With intense action and a good cast, The Wolverine was able to overcome my expectations and proved to be an exciting and fun addition to the X-Men film world. The ending wasn't great, the twist wasn't big, and the villains were sub-par. However, it's worth the watch, if you like X-Men at all. I will say that I would avoid taking the younger kids to watch. I was actually surprised at the extremity and intensity of the violence in this film, compared to most superhero movies. While I enjoy the intensity, some of it made me cringe a bit, and you may not want your kids to experience it... just saying. While I was impressed with The Wolverine, I hope that we can leave Wolverine to himself for a while and focus on the other X-Men. I CANNOT WAIT for X-Men: Days of Future Past to come out next year! You should join me in my excitement. I give The Wolverine 2.93 out of 5 stars.