Set after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, and taken from the 1982 comic book series ‘Wolverine’ by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. The Wolverine portrays a desperate Logan who only wishes for death, and has vowed never to hurt anyone again. The film attempts to capture the strain of immortality which is being put on him, and how he is dealing with it – something which the 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine did not.
The X-Men have disbanded and a lonely, bearded Logan searches for some reason to keep on living, fortunately that reason comes after Yukio tracks him down and explains that her employer would like to give him an honourable death. Jumping to Japan, it appears that the employer is Master Yashida, an individual who was saved by Logan during the Nagasaki bombing in 1945. Yashida explains that he has the capabilities to make him mortal, in exchange for his immortality. Refusing, one of the films main antagonists, ‘Viper’ whose great performance is given by Svetlana Khodchenkova, implants something inside Logan which slows down his regenerative abilities. Thus making him more vulnerable to attacks, and puts him to the ultimate test as he tries to protect Yashida’s grand-daughter Mariko from numerous assailants. When the Wolverine is at his weakest, he needs to be his strongest.
As soon as the film began you were gripped into the story and the special effects, with it opening on a scene showing Logan and Yashida attempting to survive a nuclear blast in Nagasaki. Although in reality Yashida would have been vaporised, or if he had survived underground would have had to wait a hell of a long time to resurface. It still made for a spectacular opening to the film, which shows just how far special effects has come.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine did try to explain the past of Logan, and saw him evolve into a hero – although so did ‘X-Men’ (2000) – but this Wolverine is searching for a meaning to his existence. He doesn’t want to be the hero any more if it means having to hurt people, we learn this through his still-hung-up-on-Jean Grey dreams, in which all he wants is to join her in death. However one thing that I did notice is that, in his dreams, Jean says that she is “all alone here”, surely Cyclops – her long-term boyfriend – would also be there, due to his death in X-Men: The Last Stand. Another small criticism is that – assuming we are including all of the previous X-Men films in the time line – Logan should have no recollection whatsoever of saving Master Yashida, as he was shot in the head with an Admantium bullet in the 1980s which erased all of his memories, so therefore would have forgotten everything before that.
Those small aspects don’t take away the fact that this was an enjoyable film though, for Marvel fans and audiences new to the story of this clawed-crusader. It has really, like with X-Men: First Class, set the bar high for the next X-Men film to be released, although I hardly think that the 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past will disappoint, with director Bryan Singer, scripter Matthew Vaughn, the story line and the actors behind it.
The Wolverine delivers the Logan that Marvel fans have been waiting for, ruthless in a fight, but passionate and willing to do anything for the ones he loves. The fight sequences have gone up a full notch for Wolverine since the X-Men films, adding detailed choreography whilst he is fighting gangs and ninja warriors, and the battle on the roof of the bullet train was a great new fight sequence which saw Logan have to use his wits to out match the gang members.
The film was directed by James Mangold, who has brought Knighgsome great films to the big screen in the past, including: Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma, Identity and Knight And Day.
The Wolverine provided us with our X-Men fix, until the next in the franchise is released in 2014. A film which has its main antagonist hinted at during the end credits sequence of The Wolverine.