2013-08-02

The Wolverine – Is Everlasting Life Worth Living?

by Yo Snyder

Next to Spider-Man, Wolverine is probably one of Marvel’s
most popular characters. He’s certainly the busiest. He’s on just about every
X-Men and Avengers team in existence, not to mention his solo adventures, and
of course he has all those guest appearances with other heroes who need a
little help boosting the sales of their books. Although he may be one of the
most popular and best-selling heroes in comics, things on the big screen haven’t
gone quite as well. Sure, he’s appeared in the same number of movies as
Superman (a remarkable feat when you consider that all of Wolverine’s
appearances were done by the same guy), but the quality of those movies has
varied wildly. While it might have seemed like a great idea to have Wolverine
go solo on the big-screen, X-Men Origins
proved that even great ideas can be poorly executed. It was up to The Wolverine to prove that it really
was a good idea, and fortunately, for the most part, this movie does just that.
It’s an action-packed film that also has some nice moment of gravitas, all of
which helps prove that Wolverine in his very own movie could be really cool.

Much like how it’s tough to ever think of anyone else as
Iron Man other than Robert Downey Jr., Hugh Jackman completely owns the role of
Wolverine. So much so, there were times where my mind wholly bought into the
fact that I was seeing Wolverine come alive from the pages of the comics rather
than just seeing an actor portray him. Jackman embodies the look and attitude
of what this character would be like if he was real. I don’t know who long he
can maintain his ubelievable level of fitness for the role, or how long Fox can
afford to pay him, but as long as he can I wouldn’t want anyone else playing
the on-screen version of Wolverine. I can’t even conceive of such a notion.
Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. Period.

Fortunately, in this movie Jackman not only gets to put that
crazy fitness level on display, he also gets to use some of his great talent as
well. The Wolverine has Logan doing a
little soul searching while having him struggle with a very tough issue; what
could ever make a life without end one that was worth living after losing
everything? Plus, he also has to deal with suddenly being vulnerable. He faces
things such as being tired, being hurt, and possibly even being killed. These
are unique experiences for Wolverine, and Jackman does a great job of showing
some of his wonder and awe at experiencing them for the first time as well as
what sort of affect all of this is having on an already heavily scarred psyche.
This is the most reflective we’ve seen the character, and it all adds a much
needed depth to the on-screen version of the character.

Wolverine is offered a unique gift; mortality. A friend of
his is dying, but they don’t want to die. Wolverine will live a very long time,
but it’s clear he isn’t sure he wants to go on living. His friend proposes a
trade, and suggests that while Logan views a life without end a pointless
existence, he views life without end as the only life worth living. Now,
granted this friend feels that way for very selfish and shallow reasons, yet he’s
not too far off from a sentiment that Jesus often shared. Jesus stated that he
came to bring us life more abundantly, life to the full, life everlasting (John
10:10). More than that, time and again he made it clear that eternal life
through him is truly the only life worth living, because it’s the only way to
truly be alive. As for what makes it worthwhile, it’s the very thing that all
of us so deeply yearn for and yet can’t seem to find anywhere else no matter
how hard we try; love. Eternal life through Jesus is a life lived in the
fullness of the love of God; that is the point, that is the meaning, that is
what makes life worth living, even for all of eternity. Perhaps especially for
all eternity.

However, just in case you’re concerned this is all some sort
of ponderous and introspective outing; it isn’t. The Wolverine has one of the coolest fight scenes to take place on
top of a speeding train since the original Mission:
Impossible
. In fact, all of the fight scenes are exciting and impressive,
and perhaps more than any other film, captures the ferocity of Wolverine’s
fighting style. Plus, it has one of the best, most intriguing, and perhaps most
exciting bonus end-credit scenes that I’ve seen in super hero movie for quite
some time.

The question going into this film was whether or not it made
up for that debacle known as X-Men
Origins
; and the answer to that question is unequivocally, yes. As has been
advertised incessantly up to the release of the film, this really is the
Wolverine movie we’ve all been waiting for. It still has its problems, it
certainly isn’t perfect, but it does more with the character than any movie
since X2, which makes whatever
happens going forward far more interesting than it ever has before. Plus, it
has a unique feel. There are no costumes here, no spandex or uniforms. The
closest thing we see to a Wolverine costume is the trademark jeans and tank
top, but that’s actually a good thing. This is smaller, more focused film,
which makes for an excellent stand-alone adventure that really just about
Wolverine and his personal journey; which is rather refreshing from high-stake,
city destroying circumstances of other super hero films. The Wolverine is an
endlessly popular character in the comics, and now he finally has a movie that
shows exactly why that is.

Score: 5 of 7 – The Wolverine is quite violent, at times
viciously and brutally so; which fits the character but is something to be
aware of. Still, there isn’t much blood or gore. Also, there’s a smattering of
some bad language throughout. All of which to say the PG-13 rating isn’t to be
taken lightly.