Hugh Jackman is to Wolverine what Robert Downey Jr. is to Tony Stark or what Johnny Depp is to Captain Jack Sparrow. You just can’t imagine any other actor playing this role. And with Jackman joining the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past, he solidifies his status as the actor who holds the record for playing the same superhero character the most times on screen.
This film sees our hero travel to an unfamiliar territory (modern-day Japan) to fight his inner demons and kick some serious Samurai butt as well. Deadly katana steel against wolverine’s sharp silvery claws combined with the I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude does give this film the edge it is going for.
The plot is fairly regular and makes room for plenty of action.
The year is 1945. We see Logan in a Japanese PoW camp where he saves a senior guard -- Yashida from Nagasaki in a very dramatic destruction scene caused by the second atom bomb.
Cut to the present -- when Logan has been wandering in the wilderness for decades. Logan considers his immortality a curse and is still nursing heartbreak from being compelled to kill his love - Jean Grey - in the previous X-Men instalment: The Last Stand.
A mutant approaches him on behalf of an old, ageing Yashida wanting to repay his debt. What follows is an emotional as well as physical roller coater ride for the lone wolf who is perpetually brooding. He finds himself mixed up with corporate trickery, Yakuza crime, and a neo-Samurai cult of violence.
As far as the action goes, the high-speed fight aboard a bullet train could have been better, but there are lots of ninjas and sword fights to keep the wolf in motion. And comic book fans will be pleased that the deeper mythology of the character is intact.
Still, The Wolverine does run into some problems as it nears its climax. The Viper is sexy and kick-ass, but kind of one-note. The villain is perhaps too cartoon-like as he emerges during the finale. The CGI action at this point is more over the top than the film that precedes it.
Director James Mangold and his screenwriters smartly avoid the clutter of mutants and other pitfalls of the character's first solo film, creating a tale that is equally balanced. It is inspired by a classic storyline from the comics, a continuation of the X-Men film series, as well as a separate adventure all its own. Much like the character himself, The Wolverine is lean, mean, and fun.