When you’re a soldier, there’s only one true way to die. With honor and with purpose. Without those things, you are simply a Ronin, a warrior without a master. These are the main themes of James Mangold‘s, The Wolverine. It has been a while since the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, but those events still haunt Hugh Jackman‘s character. He dreams of killing Jean Grey, the only woman he’ll ever truly love. He’s also homeless and living in the wilderness. Life hasn’t been too kind on Logan; though, you get the feeling he’s made that bed and is sleeping in it.
What separates this film from recent superhero movies is that you never get the feeling that Logan is trying to be SUPER. He’s not a rockstar that will think nothing of decimating a city in hopes of taking down a villain. Simply walking away and leaving the government to clean up the mess he made. No, he’s a man who realizes that with his great powers, comes great responsibility.
In his past, Logan protected a man named Yashida against the bombings of Nagasaki. Years later, Yashida’s life is coming to a close and he calls Wolverine out of hiding in order to offer him a trade. Let Logan rest and die an ordinary death. Let him get the peace he’s been searching for all these decades. It would reunite him with his beloved Jean, but it’s also something that Logan knows can never truly happen. He doesn’t know where his life will lead him, but he knows that his life isn’t over quite yet.
Through the events of the film, Logan finds his purpose and the redemption of his soul. Killing Jean Grey, though it was a choice he HAD to make to save the world, has been destroying him. By the end of the film, he realizes that the choices he’s made haven’t always been the best, but they were what was right; and standing up for what’s right, is all that we really want out of our heroes.
The Wolverine was a welcome return of the character that only Hugh Jackman can play. After being so incredibly burned by X-Men: Origins, I’ll admit that I had low expectations. Yet, I really enjoyed the film a lot. It didn’t feel rushed, the fighting was incredibly brutal (still wondering how it received a PG-13 rating); and the after credits gave me goosebumps. Mangold did a great job at covering the heart of this character, as well as showing off why he’s called The Wolverine in the first place.
Directed by James Mangold; written by Mark Bomback and Scott Frank; director of photography, Ross Emery; edited by Michael McCusker; music by Marco Beltrami; production design by François Audouy; costumes by Isis Mussenden; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Hutch Parker; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 2 hours 6 minutes.
WITH: Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Will Yun Lee (Harada), Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Svetlana Khodchenkova (Viper) and Haruhiko Yamanouchi (Yashida).