Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Famke Janssen,
Hiroyuki Sanada, Rila Fukushima, Hal Yamanouchi,
Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee
Direction: James Mangold
Duration: 2 hours 17 minutes
STORY: The Wolverine/Logan is summoned to Japan to meet an old friend whose life he had saved in Nagasaki, during World War 2. On his deathbed, the man (now a billionaire industrialist) wants to return the favor to Logan. However, the latter is drawn into a conflict that is as much about confronting his demons as it is a fight for survival. MOVIE REVIEW: Some of the Wolverine’s (Jackman) instinctual qualities include being able to sniff out danger. So, when Yukio (Fukushima) tracks down Logan and brings him to Yashida (Yamanouchi), Logan senses something wrong. He is angered by the deal Yashida suggests and plans to leave Japan.
But then, he encounters Yashida’s sexy granddaughter Mariko ( Tao Okamoto) who immediately appeals to another set of Logan’s instincts. Yashida’s death leads to a battle for his fortune and various bad guys make a beeline to kill Mariko because she has been appointed sole heiress. The Wolverine becomes her guardian (and more) and Yukio (Mariko’s childhood pal) becomes Wolverine’s ‘bodyguard’. This is when director Mangold takes a deep dip into various Japanese themes. Ninjas, modern-day Yakuza, themes of loyalty, honour and even Shinto references are visited here.
The Japanese setting – bright lights, big city as well as rural outskirts – is delightful. On the run, Wolverine is attracted to Mariko’s unflappable calm and strength as much as she is to his bravery and courage. He sometimes hallucinates about Jean Grey (Janssen) who was the love of his life, even while in bed with Mariko. So, you have old love versus new love too.
Also after them is the venom-spitting Viper (Khodchenkova) in a green bodysuit who takes the femme fatale bit too far. There are superhero movies with better gags and then there are superhero films with more effects. Eschewing any of those in excess, what this film also offers is soul, pathos and a pretty good look at the multifaceted character that is The Wolverine.