Treatment and adjustment of demographics aside. Fox made a solid action film here. This flick is an easy 3 out of 5. It passes. If the 3rd act of the film had not been such a mess (I'll explain after the break), it would have earned a 4 out of 5, going above average. The first act forces us to acknowledge that X-Men: Last Stand happened. Logan has thrown away his Wolverine identity after having to take his unrequited love's life away as per her last sane wish. He lives on the fringe of society just like he was in the first X-Men film. He gets whisked away to Japan and is forced to defend a young heiress and through his actions reclaim his name and become once more the hero.
The action is very well done, Logan and Mariko are both acted as well as the characters could be. Their are some funny moments and Logan shows us a killer that's been PG-13'ed in previous films. This Wolverine is the guy at the bar telling Charles and Erik to fuck off without even looking at them.
Go see the film, enjoy the ride and weather through the final act.
SPOILERS past the break.
Seems that I'm doing another IF I was doing this... SPOILERS, you've been warned.
Wolverine played up his noble barbaric nature. The scene with the hunters and the bear were well done. Getting the scrub down from the old ladies was awesome. Learning the habits and rules of Japanese society and reliving one of the most horrible moments of WWII (the use of an Atomic Weapon on Nagasaki) really challenged the character. Going into the love hotel with the old lady saying (in Japanese) I speak no English, over and over again was warming. Jean Grey's love of sleep wear and haunting of Wolverine was well played. The little things like cutting up the Vet who patches him up... awesome. For the Wolverine fans out there, this is your flick.
Mariko was well done here. She was even able to fight off some Yakuza (Japanese organized criminals) but some training only goes so far against those folks so she still needed saving. She is able to stand up to the big guy all film but she does so gently as if coaxing a wounded animal. This is not lost on the audience as she grows to care for the big guy.
In the case of Viper any mad scientist would have done. The character is one of the most influential agents of Hydra, enemy of Nick Fury, Capt. Marvel (Carole Denvers) and Wolverine. Giving her mutant powers was ok. Making her infiltrate the Yashida corporation was ok. Her reason for doing shit was... wasted. They could have made mention to her allegiance with a simple easter egg Hydra symbol. Make non-cannon links to Capt. America and the Avengers as a whole. Instead you feel no reason for her to do what she does. Her fight scene was a waste at the end. If you've seen the movie in the 3rd act, when she poisons Mariko only to have Mariko wake up seconds later unharmed... ask why did Viper do that. She seems to have no motivation... she has no reason. Lame
Silver Samurai is one of the major rivals of Wolverine in his history. Instead we have a robot power armour that can cut with magic swords through his claws... yeah that's it. Not lame, simply stupid.
The rest of the Yashida clan was interesting at first but come the 3rd act, it seemed wasteful of the whole mythos and original story. To make matters worst then simply abusing and wasting the original story arc was the poor execution of the new story. The first can be forgiven the last cannot, it's the reason why we're in the cinema.
What would Dozer do?
Make the whole 3rd act vanish. Wolverine finally gets over the inhibitor that reduces his ability. Hell keep the same scene minus Mariko's father. Drop Viper.
Make the Silver Samurai the honour bound protector of the family who also longs for Mariko's heart. Instead like the other yojimbo (bodyguard in Japanese), keep him a mutant with the ability to charge metal to make it super strong and be able to cut through anything like butter. Hell he could have been the one to pick up Logan at the bar.
Keep the father as the whole reason for the Yakuza, trying to reclaim his inheritance. Bitter at his father's love of Mutants (adding that racist element) and abuse of the company. The 3rd act is the father ordering the Samurai to kill Mariko who finally falters at his duty only. Inject Wolverine, now returned killing as per his norm and puts down Mariko's father just as he did with Jean Grey.
Final fight between Samurai and Wolverine, bitter rivals for Mariko and honour bound to avenger his master's murder. She will not take Wolverine because he still killed her father and she can't forgive him but her feelings towards him allows her to let him leave without any vindication. He returns home as per the post credits mini scene... once more the Wolverine, ready to get back to work
Wolverine once again makes the hard choice and comes to terms with he's ability to make the tough calls even at the cost of everything he loves and wants. Adding emotional weight to the whole journey. He has learned something, he's accepted killing Jean. He takes the cost because he can. It makes the complex and stupid twists to the motivations of the other characters become more simple and yet make more sense. The characters are used closer to the comic version while still being interesting updates film versions.
He is the best at what he does and what he does is not very nice - as per the famous line Wolverine gives in the comics.
Instead we got well... the 3rd act they gave us.