Ever since I was a youngin’, I was fascinated with all superheroes, but for several reasons, Wolverine stood out from the pack. For the most part, he was a rebel with a cause. Because he didn’t care too much for authority and playing by his own rules, Wolverine was certainly someone that I can relate to. Since the first glimpse of the monochromatic movie poster sometime last year, I already knew I wanted to see The Wolverine. It wasn’t what I expected. It was better.
Hugh Jackman returns for his sixth time, playing the rugged role as Logan aka Wolverine. Out of the six times, it’s the first that “X-Men” has not been in the title. The Wolverine takes place sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand, where something tragic happens, forcing Logan into exile. In the opening sequence, which is in the past (World War II), Logan saves a young Yashida, a Japanese soldier, from a nuclear blast simply by covering him with a lead door. After the abrupt explosion, Logan’s renowned regenerative healing power kicks in, as we watch his scorched skin quickly revert to normal. This selfless act sets the theme, and throughout the movie, we see Wolverine’s strengths, as well as his weaknesses. It’s almost as if The Wolverine is a field study on Logan’s life and struggle.
Back to present times, Logan now isolates himself in a forest, drinking Stanley’s (Stan Lee) Whiskey to escape the troubles he has faced in the past. Although his healing power is immense, Logan often deals with inner demons, frequently waking up from nightmares with claws ready to slash someone or something. Early in the film, Logan’s patience is tested by some dishonorable hunters. Immediately, Wolverine comes out, along with the claws, and puts the hunters into place. Meanwhile, Yukio (Rila Fukushima), witnesses the confrontation and interjects with a proposition for Logan, showcasing her swift swordplay.
Yukio explains that she was sent by her employer, a bedridden Yashida, to find Logan and persuade him to travel to Japan as a dying man’s last wish. Logan reluctantly agrees. The plot begins and quickly thickens. Before seeing his old friend upon arriving in Japan, Logan receives a makeover – caveman to wolv-man, the look that we know and love: the flared-out hair and rugged shave. We soon find out that Logan was summoned by Yashida, now one of Japan’s formidable business leaders, to take some of his healing factor, but things don’t pan out for the old man.
Aside from sudden death, Yashida has other issues to deal with, including kidnap attempts by the Yakuza, his business and the will. Logan’s arrival, in turn, seemingly sets things into motion like a set of dominoes. What starts out as a simple visit to Japan turns into a mission filled with intrigue and suspense with enough plot twists worthy of a soap opera.
In this flick, we see Wolverine in his darkest moments having flashbacks of a loved one and dealing with inner demons, including possible immortality. On the flipside, Wolverine finds himself, realizing his healing factor is a blessing and not a curse. We witness his struggle and personal redemption with the help of a new love interest.
Aside from Logan and the plot, The Wolverine offers many original and incredible visual effects. The segment on top of the bullet train is hands, er, claws down the best on-a-moving-rooftop fight scene in movie history. It was interesting to see Wolverine in a weakened state. Go see now how he overcomes the odds and witness what makes Logan the Wolverine.