By Sharon Pisani (Lija, Malta)


The Wolverine: Desolate Mutant

For the sixth time, Hugh Jackman appears on the silver screen as the mutant Logan, or as he is better known, the Wolverine. It is the second movie which centres round Wolverine, the first being 2009’s disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Unlike the first one, director James Mangold gives us what we really want: Logan getting his claws out and being Wolverine. This is done through fast-paced action scenes, and a storyline which is quite well-built.

The Wolverine stands out from the other X-Men movies in the franchise. It is set in Japan, right after the events in X-Men: The Last Stand. Flashbacks form a small part of the movie, the first scene showing Logan saving a Japanese soldier, Yashida, from the Nagasaki nuclear blast during World War II. This is wonderfully portrayed, giving us a survivor’s view of Nagasaki after the blast, and further shorter flashbacks continue to show the blast’s devastation. This is a recurring theme in this movie, as Logan is constantly reminded of the death around him, from nightmares of Jean, to Yashida, now an aging dying man, seeking to thank Logan for saving his life. This is all heightened as Logan starts noticing his healing powers are not working properly, making him, for the first time, appear as a very vulnerable character in a world he is not acquainted with.

It is Yashida’s dying wish to thank Logan that brings him to Japan, but it is not very long after that he realises it is for more than just that: Yashida is after Logan’s immortality. Logan is reluctant, Yashida dies, and it is during Yashida’s funeral that we see his granddaughter, Mariko, the new owner of Yashida’s very successful company, attacked by Yakuza assassins. Logan takes on the role of protector and along the way fights more than just ninjas, but also his inner conflicts regarding his immortality.

Being centred on Wolverine, this movie has a shortage of mutants, apart from Logan, the two other mutants seen are a Japanese mutant, Yukio, who can see people’s deaths, as well as the movie villain, Viper, played by Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova. This, along with the vulnerability theme, gives the movie a very human feel. Another weak point is Logan’s love interest in this movie, Mariko. While this is what happens in the original comics, the romance in the movie is very clichéd, and it is not given enough time to develop. The relationship with Mariko would have appeared better if Logan was left as a protective figure.

The scenes with Jean tied the events with the original trilogy. A smart move, considering the last two movies were prequels to the trilogy. As a Marvel movie, the lights were still off during the credits, in anticipation for the post-credit scene every fan waits for. The last Marvel post-credit scene shown, in Iron Man 3, was purely for comical relief, however this is not the case for The Wolverine, where the post-credit scene paves the way fully for next year’s instalment in the franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

This unusual take on the X-Men franchise works well, and the sins of the Origins movie are duly forgotten. With six films under his belt, Hugh Jackman is surely set to return in more movies in the series, even ahead of next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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