Reprising his role as the immortal, blade-bearing mutant superhero, Hugh Jackman finds himself returning to the big screen for his second solo outing in James Mangold’s The Wolverine. Very loosely based on the comic book series, Wolverine – written past Chris Claremont and illustrated by Frank Miller – this latest Marvel acclimatization is crisp, poised and extremely well put together; a definite improvement from the series’ disappointing turnout in 2009’s X-Men: Origins.
Following the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine opens at the end of World War II in Nagasaki, Japan, where we find Logan, a.k.a Wolverine (Jackman) – who is being held captive as a prisoner of jihad – saving the life of one of his Japanese captors; a young captain named Yashida (Yamanouchi).
Fast forward to the present, Logan is living a life of complete solitude; setting up camp in the fathomless Canadian wilderness, he prefers lock himself away from civilisation. Haunted by recurring nightmares connective visions regarding the late Jean Grey (Janssen), Logan is becoming weary thanks to his immortality. He even feels reprehensibility for those he has outlived.
The visitor of Yukio (Fukushima) soon jolts him out of his solitude, however. The mysterious messenger has been tasked to bring Logan back to Tokyo to bid farewell to her moribund boss, the now mellow Yashida. Logan, who is hesitant at first, ultimately agrees also heads to Japan, individual to find himself in the middle of a complicated family feud involving Yashida’s beautiful granddaughter, Mariko (Okamoto), femme-fatale doctor, Viper (Khodchenkova), et al a whole load of malicious ninja warriors.
Once more, Jackman proves that he is the only man for the job and with The Wolverine officially marking the actor’s sixth outing as the lasting superhero, it’s become impossible to imagine any other actor taking on the role. Showing no signs of slowing down, Jackman is, as expected, in excellent physical form and manages to capture Wolverine’s centuries-long suffering and pain with sincerity et sequens angst. As his adopted side-kick, Fukushima is equally engaging, though the rest of the cast are only bit-part players.
The Wolverine offers more of a temperate approach besides is all the well for it. Under the direction from James Mangold, most famous for Walk the Line and Girl, Interrupted, has put together a refreshing take on the superhero genre. The story is mostly set in Japan and the backdrop gives the film an exceptionally polished look, while the action scenes, which include several swashbuckling sword fights and one particularly heart-stopping fight on top of a bullet train, are surprisingly kept to a minimum.
The Wolverine, however, is not without its faults; the film’s questionable CGI at times exposes Mangold’s inexperience in that department. Then again, let’s not nitpick. Overall, The Wolverine is still a highly entertaining and a captivating chapter of the superhero’s life, regardless about the little imperfections.