This is the sixth instalment in the X-Men film series and follows on the last film, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Hugh Jackman returns to the title character, Logan/Wolverine, the iconic super-hero figure of Marvel adventures.
The film focuses on Logan’s internal struggle with his immortality. He needs desperately to rediscover his identity after allowing himself to lose his purpose for living.
Because he knows he can’t die, and haunted by the death of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), he is in torment, and Logan chooses to solve his conflicts by opting out of life. Looking unkempt and dishevelled, this film finds him exposed and vulnerable, but, summoned by someone from his past wanting to express gratitude for being rescued years before, he finds himself caught up in dramatic events that push his life in directions for which he is unprepared.
They take him to the limits of his physical and emotional endurance, but, by surviving them, he confronts his internal struggle and rediscovers his identity. For all the films in the Wolverine series, this is the most personal one of all. His animal-like qualities become human.
The film is set in Japan where Wolverine is offered the chance to be no longer immortal by the soldier he saved in the past. The main antagonist to Wolverine is Shingen Yashida (Hiroyuki Sanada), who is a Yakuza crime boss and Wolverine’s chief nemesis. Mariko Yashida (Tao Okamoto), is the daughter of Shingen and granddaughter of Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), and she is torn between her love for Wolverine and her duty to her father. Mariko is caught in a gangland war, and Logan is given the job of protecting her by her grandfather, who is the soldier he saved.
The film emphasizes strongly the relationship between herself and Wolverine, but Mariko is promised to another man. Romance between Wolverine and Mariko is forbidden; it disrupts everybody’s plans; and it earns the anger of her ambitious father.
This is a high-action adventure movie that continues the vitality of previous Wolverine films. The special effects are a little derivative, but suitably impressive, which is now par for the course in well-produced superhero movies. By the end of the movie, after he has experienced weakness, Wolverine is stronger and more determined than ever before. The stage is set, it seems, for one more film (at least) in a very popular series - Peter Sheehan, ACOFB.
The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Hal Yamanouchi, and Famke Janssen. Rated M (Frequent action violence and coarse language). 126 min.