The Wolverine was not the worst Wolverine movie ever made. So that’s something. But that doesn’t mean The Wolverine didn't leave viewers with more than a few unanswered questions, but we’re here to help! Warning: This FAQ contains massive spoilers for The Wolverine (also, if you haven’t seen the movie, it probably won’t make a lick of sense anyways).
If you could sum up this movie in a single sentence, what would it be?
Wolverine goes to Japan and fights a lot of assholes and ninjas.
Aren’t some of the assholes ninjas or vice versa?
Yeah, a couple.
Why did young Yashida free all the Allied prisoners before the Allies bombed Nagasaki?
Weren’t the Japanese renowned for their fair and merciful treatment of prisoners during World War II?
Quite the opposite.
Then I don’t know.
At the beginning of the movie, would you say bearded Wolverine is more of a hermit, a mountain man, or an outdoorsman?
I prefer the term “hobo of the wild.”
Why doesn’t that bear kill the shit out of Wolverine?
Because bears and wolverines are Nature’s Best Friends. Also wolverines and bears frequently make death pacts, in that if one is killed, the other is tasked with avenging his death.
Absolutely. If Logan had died in Japan, the bear would have been required by nature’s law to get a passport, fly to Tokyo, and take on the Yashida corporation by himself. It would have been a very different movie.
Why does Yashida think Logan wants to die?
Well, either he saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand and saw Jean Grey died, and figured out Wolverine was super sad about it, or he found out Logan was living in the woods with a bear, which could be reasonably interpreted as a sign of depression.
The previews made it look like Yashida was offering to kill Logan, but in the movie he actually offers to take away Logan’s healing power so he can die of old age. Why would even a depressed Logan want that?
I have no fucking clue. You know, whether or not I wanted to kill myself, getting old and having my body deteriorate along the way sounds pretty shitty to me. What does Wolverine get out of the deal, a chance to enjoy hearing loss and incontinence? Yeah, no thanks.
Also, why do Yashida and Viper keep talking about how Wolverine’s mutant healing ability can be traded to somebody?
Yashida and Viper are apparently under the impression that a mutant power is like a Pokémon card.
This is a movie about a dude with a steel skeleton and claws fighting a giant robot samurai and a snake lady who spits venom. Why do I find the “trade me your mutant power” so stupid?
Because we know how DNA works, and we know it doesn’t work that way. Look, the movie posits that some people are mutants and those mutations generally involve super awesome powers and/or wacky skin defects. We have to suspend our disbelief to accept that, but that’s essentially the price of admission.
If the movie starts trying to pile on more rules mid-way through, that’s when it gets into trouble — especially if its stuff we know for a fact is wrong. We know that DNA isn’t a single entity that can be passed back and forth between people, and even if there are mutants running around with ridiculous powers, that doesn’t change that.
It’d be like if The Wolverine told us bananas were poisonous. Again, this is a movie about a dude with a steel skeleton and claws fighting a giant robot samurai and a snake lady who spits venom. But we know bananas aren’t poisonous, and it’s kind of shitty that the movie thinks it can get away with pretending they are.
Is this why the train fight felt so dumb too?
Why did Yashida fake his death?
I don’t know. It’s just something old people do. Like in Prometheus.
No, really — if Yashida’s plan was to keep living anyways, why did he bother faking his death at all? Wouldn’t that have avoided the whole will nonsense that led to the death of his son and most of his regular employees at the hands of his ninja patrol?
Uh, maybe he wanted Shingen to try to kill Mariko so… somehow Shingen would end up dead at the end of it?
But Yashida wanted Mariko to ostensibly be in charge so he could rule through her as a puppet. And by “dying,” he sets the whole "Shingen hires minister of Justice to hire Yakuza thugs to kidnap and kill Mariko" plot into action, which he shouldn’t want, right?
Also, Yashida had a shit-ton of ninjas at his command. If he really just wanted Shingen dead, wouldn’t it have been easier to send one of them rather than pretend to die and watch everybody kill each other and hope Mariko is left standing at the end?
And why didn’t Yashida and Viper try to get Wolverine’s mutant healing juice the first night he was there instead three days later after his family and corporation had pretty much imploded?
Because he was busy faking his death.
But if he just got Wolverine’s stupid healing powers then he wouldn’t have needed to pretend to die at all!
Let’s just assume Yashida’s byzantine, nonsensical plot has a hidden meaning we don’t understand because we’re not Japanese.
I have a half-Japanese buddy who says there's no hidden meaning and that it just makes no sense.
Then let’s just move on.
If Yashida needed Wolverine’s mutant healing juice, why did Viper put the mutant gene-suppressing, heart-snacking bug in his chest before they took it?
Enh, they had one lying around. What else where they going to do with it?
If you were a Japanese woman trying to hide in Japan, would you let your incredibly visually distinct muttonchopped gaijin buddy join the neighborhood tree-removal service?
I wouldn’t, but no doubt the tree removal is fraught with some hidden meaning only the Japanese know.
Why do Viper and Yashida kidnap Mariko from their house in the suburbs?
Because she’s the heir.
Yeah, but Yashida is still planning on ruling the company, either overtly or in secret. Mariko is nice, but what he — and Viper — really want is Logan because they want his healing power. I mean, Mariko is just bait for Logan anyways, right? But Wolverine was right there for the grabbing, and they just left him.
/looks to side
Well, you see…
/looks up as if hoping to see some answer
/complete refusal to make eye contact
How did Wolverine know how to operate Yashida’s crazy medical bed thingie? Oh, come on. It's just a bed. It's not like the instructions were in Japanese or any— oh.
Also, is the bed constantly x-raying the occupant? Because that seems like a terrible idea.
Well, it probably didn’t help Yashida’s health, that’s for sure.
Is every Japanese man in this movie kind of an asshole?
Well, let’s see. Noburo the Minister of Justice is an asshole. Mariko’s dad Shingen is an asshole. Yashida turns out to be an asshole, obviously. Harada the ninja who is in love with Mariko seems pretty all right.
But then Harada goes out of his way to have his ninja clan capture Logan, bring him to Viper and tell Mariko its all part of her grandfather’s plan, and then, after Mariko stab him and Yashida/Silver Samurai starts on his rampage, he immediately starts fighting his boss who was clearly carrying out the plan he had previously delineated.
Yeah. Well, the plot needed Harada to be an asshole for a little bit, and then it didn’t. But you’re right, that only leaves Mariko and Yukio in the non-asshole crowd. But Yukio's pretty awesome, so... yeah.
Why is Silver Samurai/Yashida so interested in cutting off Wolverine’s claws?
Because apparently that’s the best way to suck out Logan’s mutant healing juice — cut off the claws, drill through the bone stumps, and then… uh, get really young, somehow.
Really? There was no other way to get to Wolverine’s DNA? Like, maybe a cheek swab or something?
Still, might there have been a less complicated machine to draw out Wolverine’s mutant DNA that a giant adamantium samurai suit with special arm drills perfectly calibrated to match Wolverine’s claws?
I defy you to think of one.
Speaking of, what’s wrong with Wolverine’s claws in this movie?
What do you mean?
He slices a ton of people, but there’s never any chopping, slicing, or removed limbs. The only time I think we see Wolverine’s claws visibly puncture someone is when he snikts Shingen, and I don’t think we see them push out or go back in, and there’s definitely no blood.
Oh. Wolverine has developed a second mutation called “MPAA-ism.” It also him to attack his foes without any visible signs of damage. His claws still make slicing sounds, though, so that’s how you know it's working.
Where the hell did all those ninjas that captured Wolverine go during the final fight scene?
Pachinko. Love hotel. Sumo match. Hentai store. Used panties vending machine. Please, pick your Japanese cliché.
So was this movie better or worse or the same as X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
Well, it didn’t make any more sense, that’s for sure, and it was possibly even more dour. On the other hand, this movie 1) featured Wolverine fighting ninjas, 2) didn’t savagely beat X-Men movie continuity into a coma and 3) didn’t feature this abomination. So I’d say The Wolverine comes out ahead, although I’m not sure that means The Wolverine is good.
How awesome was the post-credits scene?
Pretty awesome. Although you have admit there could not be a more dickish way of approaching Wolverine than by having Magneto stop him in a airport security line. Clearly, Professor X was like, “Oh, I’ve come back from the dead and he’ll be overjoyed to see me, not to mention that he’ll be understandably shocked that we’re working together, so it’s obviously best for all concerned that I approach him first. So here’s what I want you to do — go hassle him at the line and just when he’s about to go crazy, I’ll wheel up like a badass!”
Why would Professor X do that?
BECAUSE HE’S AN ASSSSHHHOOOLLLLLEEEEEEE