Walk the Line director James Mangold has been tasked with bringing Logan back to the big screen in what is Hugh Jackman’s sixth outing as the Wolverine after last making an appearance in an uncredited cameo role in the 2011 hit film X-Men: First Class.
The film, which Mangold has said follows on from the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand which saw the disbandment of the group and the deaths of Jean Gray and Professor Charles Xavier, sees Logan struggling to cope with his past in what is an uncertain future for the anti-hero. With the love of his life dead (Jean Gray, played by Famke Janssen), he finds it tough to find motivation to go on. Haunted by terrorising nightmares and flashbacks of Grey, The Wolverine’s strength is most certainly in its dark, gritty portrayal of the Wolverine’s problems.
After establishing that Logan once saved a Japanese soldiers’ life by covering him from the blasts of the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945, that same solider, now the dying billionaire Yashida (Hal Yamonouchi), sends his loyal staff member Yukio (Rila Fukushima) to track him down. Logan’s understanding is that it is to say a final goodbye to an old friend, however on arrival he finds that he was taken there under false pretenses. He quickly finds himself entangled in the task of saving Yahida’s beloved Granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from harms way, a journey that may just turn out to save himself from his own demons.
The film asks several key questions of the films lead and shows a side to him not often seen: vulnerability. Is immortality what Logan truly desires? On his way to self discovery he finds that what he was beginning to see as his greatest weakness is in fact his biggest strength.
The Wolverine will have not let any die-hard X-Men fans down. Jackman’s strong performance, that gives an intriguing insight into his characters mindset, is the real backbone to what is an engaging, yet rather menacing, piece of film. Certain questions are left unanswered, including the motives of certain characters, but the effective blend of intense, but certainly not over-played, fight-sequences and the strength of Jackman’s portrayal of Logan will see you looking past these minor faults and being able to enjoy the spectacle that Mangold has pieced together.