The story goes that when director and series newcomer James Mangold ("Walk the Line," "3:10 to Yuma") received the script for "The Wolverine," the first thing he did was write five words on it: "Everyone I love will die."
It’s an intriguing production story, one that teases at why this Wolverine film is new (besides its Japanese locale) and worth telling not even five years after "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" blandly sputtered into theatres seemingly half-finished.
Of course, production stories are exactly that: stories. The journey from page to screen is a perilous one, and many a director has seen his lofty aspirations get sliced down to size and carefully scrubbed into something barely resembling the original idea.
Thankfully, Mangold’s goal for a more confined, character-focused and humanized Wolverine is firmly implanted on "The Wolverine" like adamantium on the popular mutant’s bones, much to its benefit. The result enjoyably combines the familiar stuff we’ve loved about the character in the past – his badassness, his snarky sense of humor, the fact that he’s played by the charismatic Hugh Jackman – with some satisfyingly fresh material as well.
The last time we saw Logan (besides his hilarious cameo in "First Class"), he was recovering from a shot to the head with an amnesia bullet. It seems Mangold and his duo of writers, Mark Bomback and Scott Frank, know the feeling, as "The Wolverine" mostly forgets about "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (despite a trip to Japan being teased in that film, but no complaints here) and takes place after the events of "The Last Stand."
Wolverine is now a bearded loner, living out in the Canadian woods, haunted by memories of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), the woman he loved but had to kill when she turned evil in part three. He’s pulled out of his self-mandated exile by Yukio (the captivating Rila Fukushima), a mutant messenger from Japan also haunted by death.
Logan saved her boss Yashida back in the bombing of Na…Read more...