Superheroes are a plenty this summer. But no summer movie is complete without an action hero from the ‘X-Men’ series. Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) whose character has appeared in several of the ‘X-Men’ stories slashes his way into theaters in ‘The Wolverine.’
Like the comic books of old, the story takes place during World War II in 1945 Nagasaki, Japan. As luck would have it, Wolverine’s ability to absorb pain and his amazing healing powers, comes in handy when the Americans bomb this island prison camp (complete with a mushroom cloud). He protects Haruhiko Yamanouch (Hal Yamanouchi), a Japanese soldier from becoming radiation dust.
Fast-forward sixty-eight years later to modern times and Logan is living as a hermit in the wilds of Alaska. He is haunted by nightly visits of his dead love, Jean Gray (Famke Janssen). When one of his neighbors, a grizzly bear meets an untimely death at the hands of an unscrupulous hunter, Wolverine seeks to right the wrong.
It is during this time that he meets Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who informs him that she was sent to find him for his old acquaintance, Mr. Yamanouch. It seems that he is dying and would like to see his savior once last time.
When Logan arrives in Japan, he finds himself smack in the middle of a war within the powerful Yashida clan. He is summoned to the side of his dying friend who proposes a solution to his curse of longevity.
And what story set in Japan could be complete without Samurai swords, Ninjas; the Yakuza organize crime syndicate, and the unseemly world of politicians? Not to mention a robotic metallic assassin.
Along for the ride in this sea of chaos is Yukio with her black and hot pink attire. Despite resembling an anime character, she swings a mean sword with the best of them.
James Mangold directs the script written by Mark Bomback and Scott Frank. It is shot in 3D and filled with plenty of physical action and adventure. He also allows for Logan to excise his customary internal demons.
In a true ‘Wolverine’ series, it is expected that one would see more than two mutants (okay three if you’re counting Logan). Although Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) proves that she is an able-bodied serpent, the lack of fellow mutants is a little disappointing. But, sightings of Hugh Jackman’s muscles and shiny bright claws compensate for the oversight.
The film also stars Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen), Will Yun Lee (Harada), and Tao Okamoto (Mariko).
‘The Wolverine’ lives up to the fame and glory of comic book legends.
No spoiler alerts here: By now fateful fans know to stay seated during the credits for the teaser. It is sure to be best one yet.
The movie has a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes. It is rated PG-13.