Just when it looked like July was about to tailspin into oblivion after the awful R.I.P.D. and RED 2, along comes The Wolverine to save the day. Here, Hugh Jackman completely makes up for X-Men Origins: Wolverine by teaming up with director James Mangold. Having previously worked together on Kate & Leopold, the two have a good rapport and it shows on screen. Armed with two credited screenwriters (Mark Bomback, Scott Frank) who know a thing or two about action (Live Free or Die Hard, the Total Recall remake) and plot (Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Minority Report, The Lookout), we shouldn’t be too surprised that The Wolverine is as much fun as it is.
The Wolverine brings us up to speed with Logan (Jackman) living Grizzly Adams-style, out in the woods. He’s being followed by Yukio (Rila Fukushima) armed with her phone camera, who finally reveals herself before Logan rages out on some hunters who killed a grizzly bear with poison-tipped arrows. Logan’s dreams are also being haunted by Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who wants him let go of his immortality and join her in the afterlife, and nightmares about when he saved a young Japanese soldier, Kenuichio Harada (Will Yun Lee), at the bombing of Hiroshima. Now, Harada has sent Yukio to bring Logan to him in Tokyo to say goodbye before he passes on. While there, Logan also becomes embroiled in the kidnapping attempts of Harada’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto). There’s also a blonde going by the name Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) stalking Logan as well.
For anyone who complained that Origins was too much bad-action and not enough story, there’s going to be no complaining once the credits roll for The Wolverine. Speaking of the end credits, be sure to stick around for an amazing payoff sequence; to ruin the surprise would be criminal. Jackman always seems to be having more fun when he gets to play Wolverine and this is no exception. Snarky and armed with hilarious one-liners, between this and X-Men: First Class, he seems to have found a line he’ll continue to use and still get to keep the PG-13 rating.
The Wolverine also finally makes more sense of Logan’s cameo in First Class for the rest of us who aren’t fanboys. I’ve never picked up on Logan’s immortality before.Maybe it’s time I rewatched at least the first two X-Mens. From street chases to bullet trains to mountain side fortresses, once the action kicks in, it’s pretty relentless. Mangold shows that his ability to film a kick ass action sequence that’s both over-the-top but still holds its intensity. With The Wolverine, summer finally kicks back into high gear, placing it right alongside the fun we’ve already had with Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, Star Trek
Into Darkness, and Iron Man 3.
Photos courtesy Twentieth Century Fox