The Superhero, Without the Bang


The Wolverine

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto,

Rila Fukushima, Svetlana Khodchenkova


A superhero confronting his demons is par for the course these days, even if he is as banal as Wolverine. A superhero doing that while showing no mercy slashing people to whom he bears no particular grudge is quite another matter.

This superhero comes in the dependably muscular and tried form of Jackman. The grudge comes in the shape of a pretty, slight Japanese heiress Mariko (Okamoto), who is set to come into considerable fortune. Their paths cross as Mariko's grandfather, Yashida, had been saved during the Nagasaki World War II bombing by Wolverine.

Yashida, who is dying, summons Wolverine, known here largely as Logan, to his bedside to say a final goodbye. The wily old man reveals tricks up his sleeve as well as a really cool bed underneath him when Logan does agree to visit. Lined with what look like blunt nails, the bed moulds itself to the shape of the occupant on it. Who would want to die lying on one, you think? You think right.

Even as you anticipate the plot to somehow take a jumpstart to saving the world, The Wolverine keeps its ambitions modestly curtailed to saving Mariko from the bad guys, who appear to run the length and breadth of, thankfully, a tiny Japan. There is an impressive confrontation at a funeral and a really impressive one atop a bullet train, before the action inevitably leads to Nagasaki.

Wolverine's competition includes a catsuit-clad doctor (Khodchenkova) who drops enough hints to suggest that she may not be the oncologist Yashida says she is. Her name is 'Viper', and that stands for just one of the many talents she has to maim, burn, or just blow away people.

... contd.

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