Directed by James Mangold
Starring Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamato, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.
Wow, has the X-Men movie franchise really been going for 13 years now? Remarkable. And up front, at the centre of the franchise, has always been Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. We just knew Wolverine would eventually get his own film, but the first attempt, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, didn’t come across so well. So when they announced another Wolverine film, and it would focus on Wolverine’s time of Japan, I was excited. Jackman has long gone on record as saying Wolverine’s time in Japan is his favourite story arc, so this is the story that Jackman has wanted to tell. Would this be the definitive version of Wolverine?
Following the death of Jean Grey (see X-Men: The Last Stand), the man known as Logan has retreated into himself, and is living in the wilderness of the Yukon. One day, he’s approached by a mysterious woman named Yukio, who wants to take him to Tokyo. Many years ago, as a POW in Japan during World War II, Logan saved a solider named Yashida, and now, a billionarie and near death, Yashida wants to extend his thanks to Logan. Upon arriving, Yashida says he’s developed a process to transfer Logan’s healing factor to himself. Logan refuses this deal, and Yashida soon dies. Mariko, Yashida’s granddaughter and heir to the family fortune, soon becomes the target of assassins. So, Logan leaps into action to protect Mariko. But, something is wrong. His healing factor no longer works! Can Logan save Mariko, and get to the bottom of this scheme?
What I Liked
It’s always good to see Jackman back as Wolverine. At this point, Wolverine is Jackman’s James Bond. It’s the role he knows best and will always be best associated with. The Japanese setting really is a great change of pace, showcasing Wolverine as a stranger in a strange land. There’s some really great action scenes. Fukushima, as Yukio, is an interesting character. There’s lots to love.
What I Didn’t Like
The superheroics are kept to a minimum, so much so that when the big comic book movie climax happens, it does seem a little out of place. And as that climax rolls around, it does start falling back on some superhero movie cliches.
I really enjoyed it. It was a nice, dark, return to form for Wolverine, and a worthy addition to the X-franchise.