Thursday Night Movie Club
The Wolverine
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Release Date: 26 July 2013

Director: James Mangold
Hugh Jackman
Tao Okamoto
Rila Fukushima
Hiroyuki Sanada
Svetlana Khodchenkova
Brian Tee
Hal Yamanouchi
Will Yun Lee
Ken Yamamura
Famke Janssen
Nobutaka Aoyagi
Seiji Funamoto
Shinji Ikefuji
Qyoko Kudo
Nobuaki Kakuda
Young Yashida
Jean Grey
Buddhist Priest
The Wolverine movie poster The Wolverine movie poster The Wolverine movie poster
Hugh Jackman as Logan in WolverineYears have passed since the events in "X-Men: The Last Stand" which resulted in Logan killing his one true love, a resurrected Jean Grey, in order to save humans and mutants alike from catastrophe. Logan (Hugh Jackman) is haunted by two dreams: he relives an incident near the end of World War II where he revealed his mutant powers to his Japanese captor just as the atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. In the other, he lies in a bed beside Jean and listens as she tempts him with the one thing he can never have... death.

Logan wanders aimlessly through the American/Canadian Northwest keeping to himself and surviving as best he can. He has turned his back on humanity and mutants alike. He is alone in his prison of depression knowing he will never be reunited with Jean in this or the after-life. But no man is an island. Logan's sense of humanity/right and wrong force him to bare his claws and stand up for the down-trodden, in this case, a grizzly bear that was struck by a poisoned arrow. Logan mercifully kills the bear and then heads to the nearest town to reek vengeance.

Rila Fukushima as Yukio in WolverineLogan's life is about to get really complicated. Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), the man Logan saved, is dieing. He has been searching for Logan to say a last farewell to the man who saved his life. Yukio (Rila Fukushima) pursuades Logan to make the trip to Japan.

When he finally meets Yashida, Logan is shocked by Yashida's proposal. Yashida thinks his company has found a way to end Logan's long suffering. They can transfer Logan's mutant ability to regenerate into the dieing Yashida. Logan will become mortal and he will die. Logan refuses.

Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida in WolverineLater that night Logan is again dreaming of Jean. The dream changes to an even stranger nightmare. Logan suddenly finds himself in bed with Yashida's oncologist (Svetlana Khodchenkova). She kisses him with a forked, snake-like tongue transferring something to Logan. Logan awakens to cries of panic and finds his room empty. The commotion is caused by the death of Yashida.

Logan's trip to Japan turns more sinister. During Yashida's funeral, the proceedings are interrupted by a gang of mercenaries intent on kidnapping Yashida's granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto). When Logan intervenes, he is shocked to discover his ability to heal his wounds has been compromised. Clearly, there are several things going on behind the scenes.

Tao Okamoto as Mariko in WolverineThe Wolverine is a notch above other recent super-hero films. Logan/Wolverine is on a personal journey of discovery/rediscovery, whether he likes it or not, whether he wants it or not. Once Logan makes the choice to visit his friend in Japan, he begins to discover that his life is not longer under his control. Some unknown adversary is tugging on his strings.

Logan faces a personal conflict-of-interest. He struggles with his identity. Just exactly who is Logan/Wolverine. On one hand, he knows he cannot die. He cannot be killed. Logan's loved ones will die. He will live on. The death of Jean Gray haunts him. He will never be able to see her again in the afterlife. Yet, when Yashida proposes a way in which Logan can find peace, Logan is intrigued yet conflicted. Being able to finally die is a great opportunity for Logan. However, transferring his power to regenerate to another human being is too much to ask. Even Logan realizes that no one, not even himself, should have that type of power over death.

Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper in WolverineEvents depicted during The Wolverine lead Logan to the one final, inescapeable conclusion: No matter how hard you try, you cannot hide from who you truly are deep inside. The moment of truth comes during a battle with a ninja assassin. The assassin becomes more frustrated when he cannot kill Logan. When the two lock blades, the assassin asks rather exasperratedly, "Who are you?" Logan's reply, "I am Wolverine!" This is a very profound moment for Logan. He is who he is.

There are a myriad of subplots in The Wolverine. Events are confusing for Logan and the audience. The more Logan puts the pieces of the puzzle together, the more he realizes the puzzle is much larger than he thought. Even during the midst of the final confrontation, Logan is shocked when he learns the truth. His ability to regenerate as well as his "indestructable" atomantium skeleton are tested to their maximum limits. The final major surprise of The Wolverine is revealed when Logan has one final trick "up his sleeve".

Hugh Jackman as Logan in WolverineDirector James Mangold fashions a dark film, both physically and emotionally. There is no joy in Logan's life. His one true love is dead. Without love in his life, Logan abandons everything and everyone. Mangold keeps the pace frantic. Mysteries abound. The world around Logan is cloaked in suspicion, darkness and dread. Mangold does a masterful job of slowly ratcheting up these emotions for Logan and the audience.

The Wolverine is a tender, caring, action-packed film. There isn't a boring second in the film. Questions pile up like cord wood. The fun is discovering the answers right along side Logan's search for himself. All Logan wants is to be left alone. However, no man is an island. The Wolverine is fun in a darkly sinister fashion. Enjoy!