Logan is again leading the life of a hermit in Northern Canada when he is recruited by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) a mutant with the power to see how people die. Yukio’s master, Yashida is the most powerful business mogul in Asia. But he will die soon and before he does, he has one last request for Wolverine who saved him from the effects of the bombing of Nagasaki during World War Two. Is Yashida setting a trap for Wolverine, or just asking him to protect his heir and granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto)?
If you missed this movie when it played in theatres over the summer, now’s the time to get it. It comes with an alternate ending that should make many comic book fans who long to see Wolverine in costume, smile. This movie is based on the first outing of Wolverine in his own series (a mini-series, to be precise) in 1982 written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Frank Miller. In that story, just like in the film, Wolverine was immersed in war opposing the yakuza against Yashida and his family.
While the film does not share the visual styling of Miller, its setting in Japan is a departure for the X-Men series of film piloted by 20th Century Fox. It looks good and the motivations behind Wolverine’s decision to stay and be a hero again are sensible. Since killing Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan is visited by dreams of Jean Grey trying to convince him to let go of his immortal life and rejoin him in death so they can be happy in the afterlife. But Wolverine, because of his regenerative powers cannot die, until Yashida promises to take away that burden from him and does so with the help of the scientist and mutant villainess Viper.
Affected by multiple wounds, Wolverine attempts to save the life of Mariko from the yakuza and several intervening factions. Yashida is not the pure damsel in distress that one saw in Wolverine Anime last year. She can fight but of course, quickly falls in love with Wolverine. I don’t think that their relationship was credible. In this movie, if any woman was the main lover of Wolverine, it was Jean Grey. It felt more like a relationship that developed out of convenience with two souls escaping from a troupe of villains.
Every villain in The Wolverine is backstabbing the other one so it was fun to see so many different angles and stakes at play. Viper who is better-known as a Captain America and Avenger villain offered some good lines and enough action. I hope to see her again in some of the other Marvel comic book movies, even if she lacked her femme fatale allure.
I liked this film because for once, Wolverine wasn’t omnipotent and the best at everything, the way he usually is portrayed. The Blu-Ray extras spend a lot of time on his background and that of the other main characters. It is a different movie from the first Wolverine film and the other X-Men films. Hugh Jackman has aged a bit, but he still reeks of Wolverine! One thing that Fox has continues to do, just like the Avengers-related movies produced by Marvel is to link it’s films to a bigger storyline through hints of what’s coming up. The after credit scenes with Magneto and Charles Xavier offers a lot to hope for the next X-Men franchise film – X-Men: Days of the Future Past.