As you saw from my review earlier this week, I wasn’t overly impressed with The Wolverine film. It wasn’t too bad, but a little messy and overall, I expected a lot more than I was given. Mainly though I thought that the narrative was far too slow and the plot points kept piling in on each other. Looking back, Yashida’s plot seemed a little too complicated and after a bit of thought, I have decided that it doesn’t make too much sense. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a plot hole, but there could have been a far easier way of getting what he wanted.
To first debate how far-fetched the villain’s plan was, we first must pinpoint exactly what he wanted from his evil schemes. Well, that is easy enough, as it was all the movie spouted for its running time:
– Yashida wanted to transfer Wolverine’s mortality into himself.
So to accomplish that, Yashida invites Wolverine over and makes him the offer. It isn’t as though any evil needs to be undertaken at this point in the plot. All Wolverine does is complain how living forever has made him watch his loved ones die and he is sick of it. Yashida makes the logical assumption that Wolverine would be up for the trade, but as it happens, he is wrong. This is when villainy should happen and maybe Yashida is the type of guy who would have a back-up plan. He told us that he needed the samurai suit to keep him alive, so he would already have that. The inclusion of Viper, who is ready to jump in with a power-draining poison, seems a little weird, but maybe Yashida was a little insane.
As a side-note, I want to add that if Yashida wanted to transfer powers with the Wolverine, surely it was a little silly to rob him of those powers. Surely, this means that there are no powers to transfer. As we can see from the process, Wolverine needs to have his powers for the transformations to work. However, I won’t think too hard about that. For all we knew, Viper was meant to take the bug thing that was stopping Wolverine’s healing, during the transformation, but Wolverine saved them all the trouble. Also, we had no idea how it worked: maybe it just subdued the powers into a dormant state and they were still able to be harnessed. It’s just a little something that requires a bit of thought.
Anyway, so as far as the stealing immortality goes, the plot is pretty coherent, if a little bizarre. However, that isn’t the whole of the plot. Yashida has put so much money into this project that he has nearly driven the company into the ground. If he wants to keep the company and pretend to die, then he needs to keep his power-hungry son at bay. This is where things get a little weird. I get being cautious of the father, but his plan is to give the company to his grand-daughter, because she is ‘weaker’ seems a little bizarre. What is that supposed to mean? All he does is make his son angry and get the Yakuza involved, who try to murder his daughter. Surely, if he gave the company to his father, all it would take is to get Harada and his ninjas to assassinate him (we are so far past the point, where it’s a dick move to kill your own son).
But why fake his death in the first place? I am assuming that his illness got so critical, he could not leave the suit, but it still begs the question, why he was so undercover. All he needed was a day or two to become immortal and cement his place as the head of the company: not enough time for his son to legally get his father fired, which is the logical thing to do, rather than get Japanese gangsters involved and bribe the police chief.
Truthfully, Yashida should have been a fantastic villain. His whole story arc was that he was forced to do bad things, because he was scared to die. This is a motive that everyone in the audience can completely agree with. Hell, if he was portrayed as a vulnerable figure, then we might even have bought the fact his plot involved killing his son and grand-daughter. However, Mangold wanted Yashida to be your stereotypical maniacal mastermind, so he just seemed like a badly-written video game character than an actual bad guy. This is one of the more disappointing things about the whole plot of The Wolverine.
A much better plot would be to scrap the entire family feud and just have Yashida try to force Wolverine into giving up his powers, after he said no. Basically, the writers added all of the other complicated plot points, just because they wanted the twist at the end, which, in all honesty, was fairly easy to guess. If the mystery element was so important, why couldn’t we have a brand new villain? Someone famous from the comics? Someone from the old X-Men movies? I’ve always wanted to see the twist that one of the trusted characters was Mystique in disguise, before you even realised she was in the films. There were better directions to take this movie and the villain should have been thought through a little better.
Excellent points. I was also very confused why Viper was helping Yashida and why he went along with it when it seemed like she just wanted Wolverine’s power too. She was basically unnecessary except for adding a tiny bit of extra mystery that didn’t really pay off (secretly bald?). However somehow I actually liked the movie.