Hugh Jackman returns from flexing his vocal chords in Les Miserables to more familiar territory of flexing his muscles in his sixth outing as Logan, AKA The Wolverine. Jackman stated he wanted to explore who the man was behind Logan – the mutant with Adamantium claws – and he manages to do so with James Mangold at the helm
So after five previous outings as Logan (we’re counting his brief appearance in X-Men: First Class), where can his new ‘vision’ take us? Well, based on an old and much Marvel comic book story arc, this time around Wolverine is enticed to visit Japan by Yukio and summoned to the deathbed of an old ‘friend’, Yashida, who states he can offer Wolverine mortality. Things being to take a dangerous turn when an attempt is made to kidnap Yashida’s daughter, Mariko.
This film is run more on plot than the special effects of the previous X Men movies, although it does offer us the usual lengthy fight sequences. However, it also falls into using many of the usual cliches you would expect when filming an action movie in Japan – such fights on high speed trains, as well as battles involving both the Yakuza and Ninjas.
As far as exploring the man behind Wolverine, this time Logan is forced to deal with his potential mortality after an encounter with Viper, the nurse to Yashida, who’s played like a more evil Poison Ivy (Batman Forever) by Svetlana Khodchenkova. I was somewhat disappointed when I saw Famke Jansen billed, as I was hoping to see something more of Phoenix. However, I was even more let down to see her only in dream sequences as Logan battles with his mortality vs his immortality.
So is the film any good? Much like Batman and Superman, this is another similar relaunch, making the Wolverine darker and less comic book than its predecessors. This is definitely X Men for the adults – a good solid story, but will it find the right audience? Whilst trying to make this film darker and more real, there is a real chance that Jackman and Mangold may in fact lose a large chunk of the younger audience due to the location, subtitles and many unknown stars/characters, as well as the severe lack of other Mutants.
The highlights of the movie are the excellent combat sequences using martial arts, including where Wolverine is shot by both bullets and arrows, as well as being stabbed and sliced! One scene in particular stands out, involving Logan getting brought down by the rooftop Ninjas in the snowy mountainous regions of Japan. Jackman really has spent a lot of time and effort in the gym, his body is manly perfection, thus adding to the legend that is the indestructible Wolverine.
Reviewer: Stephen Sclater