Article Published: Aug. 1 | Modified: Aug. 5
Let’s try and forget about 2009’s “X-Men Origins:
In “The Wolverine,” it seems like the filmmakers already
This standalone sequel almost seems like an apology for those early
celluloid misdeeds, a way of saying, “It wasn’t you; it was me. Let me apologize with a better movie
that does one of Marvel’s most celebrated characters the justice he deserves. He can even fight
Simply put, “The Wolverine” is a good comic-book movie — sharp,
exciting and minus the propensity to take itself too seriously.
dealing with a heavy theme or two, it never seems forced or thematically aloof, like some Men of
Steel we know.
It’s a fun time at the movies, for both dedicated and casual
fans; nothing complicated or terribly deep, but bolstered by another standout performance from
Hugh Jackman (“The Prestige”), who’s effectively made this character his
“The Wolverine” opens with our hero, Logan, aka Wolverine (Jackman) — a
mutant blessed (or cursed) with immortality and the gift of self-regeneration — interned in a
Japanese POW camp in World War II Nagasaki. As allied bombers drop their atomic payload, Logan
saves the life of an enemy soldier who tried to save his, shielding him from the blast and
revealing his abilities.
Fast-forward to modern day (and after all the “X-Men”
films), and Logan has cast himself from society, settling in the forested hills of the Yukon
Territory. Having realized he’s doomed to live a life that, by default, outlives those he loves,
he’s taken a pledge of nonviolence and solitude.
But not for long. After an
incident with some less than scrupulous hunters, Logan’s summoned to Tokyo by the mysterious Yukio
(newcomer Rila Fukushima), who works for Master Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi, “The Life Aquatic
with Steve Zissou”), the Japanese solider whose life Logan saved.
wishes to bid him farewell in person and make a most unconventional offer. Likening Logan to a
ronin — a samurai without a master, forced to lead a ceaseless existence without purpose — he
offers a way out. Through technology developed by his multinational conglomerate, Yashida proposes
that Logan transfer his inherent abilities to him, granting Logan the peace he so desires and
Wary of the proposal and of sharing his curse with Yashida,
Logan refuses, only to realize there are more sinister forces at work, including the fearsome
Japanese yakuza, who are out to kidnap Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (newcomer Tao
Vowing to protect Mariko, Logan finds some semblance of purpose,
but only in time to realize that his powers have somehow vanished. For the first time in hundreds
of years, he’s vulnerable. But rather than lie down and accept the hand he’d always hoped for, he
steps up for the fight of his life.
And, man, is it a good fight. “The
Wolverine” boasts some of the most impressive action sequences of the summer, including a battle
royale atop a high-speed bullet train and the sheer coolness of Wolverine fighting off a slew of
samurai, ninjas and yakuza thugs.
Granted, the plot sometimes seems more like a
means to an end in setting these scenes, but director James Mangold (2007’s “3:10 to Yuma”) keeps
things moving along at an effectively brisk pace, allowing audiences to sit back and enjoy the
“The Wolverine” is also rich in scenery and mood, all complemented and
tied together by Jackman, who’s simply a pleasure to watch in this role — especially for fans of
the comic. It’s a role he’s been developing for 13 years over the course of six movies (including
his hilarious cameo in “X-Men: First Class”), and he wears it — and the character’s signature
muttonchops — well.
Viewers should also stick around through some of the credits
for a glimpse of what the “X-Men” series has in store.
Wolverine,” rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and
language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 13-B or visit