That’s right, Logan, AKA Wolverine, is back. Based on the extremely popular comic book adventures, this episode takes Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the most iconic character of the X-Men series, to modern day Japan. We first encounter Logan looking like a vagabond, down and out and struggling with his inner demons. Until his encounter with Yukio (Rila Fukushima), another one of his kind, talks him into going to Japan to say goodbye to a dying man whom his life he once saved. Pretty much out of his comfort zone and out of his depth in a country where he doesn’t speak the language or knows the culture he comes face to face with the ultimate nemesis. This confrontation leaves Logan vulnerable for the first time as he is pushed to his physical and emotional limits and his own inner battle of his immortality.
Director, James Mangold (Walk the Line, Knight and Day), maybe new on board this extremely successful spin of the X-Men Franchise but he’s very nicely slotted into the fold with no problems. Having an extremely high budget to basically do what he needs to do with has helped him. Again this is another director opting for the 3D format, Mangold states his use of this overly used format is more subtle. Subtle yes, needed? Not in the slightest. The whole using 3D just for the sake of it is getting just a little boring.
However, all the action scenes are pretty impressive; none of the action scenes seem over the top and most just seem rather natural. The fight scene on top of one of Japan’s bullet trains (these travel up to a speed of 300 miles an hour) is well choreographed from the ninja type moves to the ferocity of each movement as the train speeds along the tracks. What is also quite intriguing are the flashback scenes of Logan/Wolverines life, giving us a slight insight into his past and an explanation of his inner demons. We get to know him a little bit more and understand why he is the way he is but this doesn’t distract from the main story, it fits in rather well.
Another factor to be taken into consideration is 99% of the film is set in Japan, so not only are we privileged with the Japanese scenery/landscapes but the majority of the cast are in fact Japanese and the language bounces between English and Japanese throughout given it that more authentic feel. So be prepared to read a few subtitles.
Thankfully, Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the Wolverine, could you image anyone else in this role. It just wouldn’t be right without him. The style of this film has also given Jackman a little bit more leverage into developing this character further and it shows in his acting ability, Jackman can do no wrong. The main female characters, Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto, who plays Mariko, Wolverine’s love interest, are both actually from modelling backgrounds, this is their first major film and they actually pull it off rather well.
Brought to us by Fox, The Wolverine is an intriguing, enjoyable story of love, honour; tradition, greed, immortality and the fight of one’s own demons. With a running time of just over 2 hours, which actually just flies by, it’s a refreshing new vision on the Wolverine franchise, thoroughly entertaining. My last words are going be do not be in a rush to leave the cinema during the credits, the makers of the film have worked in an extra scene which gives us a small teaser into the next X-Men film.
The Wolverine is released in cinemas on the 25th of July.