After 13 years of portraying one of Marvel’s infamous “X-Men” characters, Wolverine, Hugh Jackman finds himself more as the Logan persona in the secondary installment of the solo spin-off series in “The Wolverine.”
Having nothing to do with either mutants or humans, he isolates himself in the woods where he can do no destruction as his former self. While in seclusion, he’s haunted by memories of the past shown through beginnings of the film and his dreams of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).
He’s drawn out from his hiding and called upon to Japan to visit an old acquaintance, Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi). Helping him avoid his eventual demise is Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) who keeps him around long enough to give his thanks for Logan saving his life during World War II.
In return for his heroics, Yashida offers Logan the possibility to rid himself of his gift/curse of immortality and invulnerability.
From there, the film portrays Mr. Jackman’s character as the cowboy out of his realm in Japan with Yukio (Rila Fukushima), an employer of the Yashida family, serving as his guide into their society and culture.
Despite their stature and status, her character continues the tradition of memorable Japanese supporting character as she fights side by side with him as their conversation showing that they are not quite so different.
He finds himself embroiled in a crime syndicate war and family drama as he must protect Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto).
Their relationship allows for Logan to forget that fact that he’s Wolverine as he find a meaning and purpose in his life. While on the run and protecting his granddaughter, he realizes that being human is the prone of suffering and the fragility of life as exemplified by his inability to self-heal.
No matter where he runs and hides the events of the past and present catches up to him as he must confront them. From here, he’s no longer hiding but playing the sheriff of Japan as he travels the land rescuing his beloved.
Like a Western film, it takes the film a while to build into the anticpation. Those seeking the animal wild and uncontrollable will be disappointed as he becomes a man who has lived a lot of lives tiring of the loneliness. Besides a spectacular bullet train sequence, the film is more grounded in narration and storytelling which the first spin-off film solely lacked in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
The film follows the common theme in the destruction that man inflicts not only against its own but against those that are different from man can lead to fear and hatred of mutants. Mr. Mangold does a nice job of infusing the West meet East culture featuring busyness and chaotic assoicated with the city to the relaxation and seclusion of the country side. He also blends the tradition that Japan is known for with ninjas and samurais while focusing on the future in the climactic end.
A critique of the film is that it follows the studio’s plan of having this film serves as a transition piece for the title character to get back into the game as he’s called upon for a higher calling that requires his task as he along with others must deal with the impending doom that lurks in future installment of the “X-Men” franchise.
But if there is to be another film solely featuring Wolverine it’ll be hard for everyone’s favorite loner to run and hide from all corners of the world as shown toward the end credits of the film.
Classification: In Theaters
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.
For moviegoers expecting the action-laden film of the first will be disappointed as the character of Logan is focused more upon than the Wolverine but it improves from his predecessor by keeping him grounded.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language.
Timing: 2 Hours, 6 Minutes
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Action, Adventure.
- Director: James Mangold
- Screenplay: Mark Bomback & Scott Frank
- Actors: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Khodchenkova and Hal Yamanouchi with Famke Janssen.