In The Avengers we saw an ensemble of usually separated Marvel superheroes fight together. In The Wolverine we see a superhero, usually part of a group: The X-Men, fight alone. To Wolverine, who also goes by the name Logan, having his own movie is nothing new: in 2009 we already had the so-so X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This movie is supposedly a sequel, though it has more obvious connections to 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.
We learn that Logan is leading a reclusive life in the woods, haunted by dreams of his deceased love Jean Grey (a reference to events in the 2006 X-Men Movie). Supposedly he is a man without purpose. Though, it quickly becomes obvious that he still cares about doing the right thing in situations of injustice. Unexpectedly, he is asked to attend the deathbed of the Japanese Entrepreneur Yashida. Many years ago, during World War II, Wolverine saved the life of the young Yashida, hence he reluctantly agrees to come. However, after his arrival we quickly learn that Yashida has his own agenda, and that Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko is at the center of a power struggle. This rekindles Wolverine’s spirit for justice: he feels a strong urge to protect her. Thus, we have the set-up for an interesting story, populated by characters with complex motivations rather than just being plain good or bad.
Apart from a rather predictable an overblown finale, the Wolverine is an entertaining, well-paced, X-Men movie. The action scenes are colourful, interesting and well choreographed. Furthermore, the Japanese touch is a welcome change of scenery, and Hugh Jackman portrays an excellent and convincing Wolverine, perhaps his best take on the character so far. Overall the movie is certainly better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but not as good a ride as X-Men: First Class. If you’re into superheroes this is a solid pick, and if you’re specifically an X-Men fan you should certainly go and see The Wolverine.