Running Time: 2 hours 6 minutes
After the death of Jean Grey, Logan (Hugh Jackman) has decided to remove himself from the world and live a solitary life in the northern wilds of Canada. He is eventually tracked down by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who is tasked with bringing him to Japan so that he may say his last goodbye to a dying man who’s life he saved during World War II. When Logan arrives in Tokyo he finds that his old acquaintance Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi) has a proposition for him: If Logan is willing, Yashida’s doctors can remove Logan’s ability to heal himself, allowing him to live as a normal man and eventually die. In Yashida’s words, “Eternity can be a curse…a man can run out of things to live for.” Logan refuses the procedure and Yashida dies soon after, leaving his company and his fortune to his granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto).
Mariko soon becomes targeted by the Yakuza who believe that if they capture her they can control the wealth and power of the Yashida Corporation. Logan makes it his mission to protect her, but he finds himself in a mysterious, weakened state and facing a legion of enemies. If he can’t discover what is wrong with him, he may lose not only his life, but Mariko’s as well.
I thought that The Wolverine was significantly better than the previous film about Logan’s origins. I am a sucker for all things Japanese and I particularly liked this storyline from the comics, so I really liked the direction that this film took. The two lead Japanese actresses Fukushima and Okamoto were both great in their roles and Jackman was as fantastic as always as the iconic Wolverine. Director James Mangold also deserves a lot of credit for the way he framed the action sequences. They were shot with a wider scope which allowed the audience to see and digest more of what was happening instead of the usual flash/bang style of fight scene that is becoming all too common.
I only wish that the film had used Will Yun Lee and Rila Fukushima a little more and Svetlana Khodchenkova’sViper a little less. Those small quibbles aside, I liked The Wolverine and I am very enthusiastic for the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was so expertly teased at the end of this film. B+
The Wolverine teeters between ridiculously awesome and ridiculously awful, but fortunately it ends up on the awesome side. I have only seen a couple of the X-Men franchise movies, and I never saw the original Wolverine--this is a hindrance. For large franchise movies I think it is important to have the full back story. This would've rounded out the character, and I think I would have enjoyed the film even more. The two things I liked most about the film is the intensity that Hugh Jackman brings to the role and that the movie was set in Japan. I love Japan and I don't think enough movies use this unique locale. Hugh Jackman is a beast in the film. His sheer physicality is impressive and fortunately the filmmakers give him plenty of opportunities to flex his muscles.
The problems I had with the movie go hand in hand with almost all big budget sci-fi action flicks, and that is that there are so many implausible scenarios. I thought the later 1/4 of the film was bizarre and confusing, and I like a little more explanation or at least hints that help explain some of the more ridiculous situations. B-