¨What they did to me, what I am, can't be undone.¨
It seems that adding the ¨The¨to the title nowadays makes every movie look a bit cooler and it actually works for this film because The Wolverine is much better than its predecessor, X-Men Origins - Wolverine. Logan was one of my favorite characters in the X-Men trilogy and it was a shame the origin story didn't work too well because he is such an interesting character and there are so many places you could go with it. Director James Mangold (who has a favorable track record with me: Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma) succeeds here by taking Logan to Japan, which many fans of the comics may agree is one of their personal favorite moments (Frank Miller and Chris Claremont's 1982 run). Having the events of this film take place after The Last Stand also allowed Mangold to have more space to work with and focus on Logan's inner demons as he deals with the loss of Jean Grey. Fans won't be disappointed because the character is carefully developed here and unlike its predecessor the action scenes work to build the story and not the other way around where you have the typical superhero movie that jumps from one action scene to the next without any apparent purpose. The action scenes are also beautifully choreographed here (I am specially thinking of that train sequence). Another thing that worked for me is that you don't have Logan trying to save the world; the entire plot takes place almost entirely in Japan. It is a small scale film unlike recent superhero films where everything takes place around the globe while entire cities are being blown to pieces. And finally the film has a great scene after the credits that connect things nicely to the next X-Men film coming out next year. The Wolverine is a solid film and one of the better superhero films of the year.
The film takes place around two years after the events of The Last Stand. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is living on his own in the Yukon constantly having nightmares about Jean (Famke Janssen). He has been living as a nomad in the woods conflicted with the fact that he has lost so many dear loved ones. One day while having a small dispute with some hunters at a near town he encounters Yukio (Rila Fukushima) a Japanese red haired woman who has come to persuade him to come to Japan to say goodbye to her master, Yashida (Ken Yamamura), who is dying from cancer. Logan saved Yashida's life 70 years ago during WWII in Nagasaki and now he wants to say goodbye to him. Logan decides to travel to Japan to say his farewell, but once he is there Yashida presents him with a unique opportunity: he claims his company has the technological advances to make him mortal again. He knows eternity has been a curse for him, and offers him the opportunity of becoming mortal, but Logan refuses the offer. He then asks Logan to stay for a couple of days and protect his granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who he believes is in danger. That night Logan awakens to find that Yashida has passed away. During the funeral some yakuza try to attack Mariko, but Logan saves her. For the first time in his life Logan doesn't seem to recover from his injuries, but that doesn't prevent him from protecting Mariko from the people that are after her. The Wolverine now must learn how to face an unknown enemy while at the same time deal with his immortality.
Hugh Jackman looked better than ever as Wolverine (this is the fifth time he repeats the role). He owns the character in probably the same way that Robert Downey Jr. owns Iron Man and is physically in better shape than in his previous films. The film also seems to have more depth and substance as the character is better developed here. It also has what a superhero film must have which are thrilling action scenes, but there is much more to this film. The story is dark and isn't as fast paced, but it is satisfying. My only complaint has to do with the final act which is a little too cartoonish and generic, but it doesn't hurt the overall effectiveness of the film. I really had a fun time with this film and it has me hooked with how they are going to tie things up with the next film of the franchise.