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The Wolverine

Year: 2013
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Mark Bomback/Scott Frank
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima

No film is released in a vacuum, and if this had come out some February or October it might have made much more impact.

But coming on the heels of a midyear blockbuster season of huge, expensive, loud, empty flops (every summer is like that except for the number of flops), Wolverine was just too little, too late to make an impact – at least on me. I already felt like I'd been hit in the head too many times for any more CGI violence. Paradoxically with no buildings falling over or battles between freakishly outsized characters, everything just felt a bit small and inconsequential, just a guy with mere superpowers.

It's all a little unfair on both director Mangold and writers Mark Bomback and Scott Frank, because it's leagues better than the flabby X-Men Origins: Wolverine from a few years back.

Back in World War II, Logan (Jackman) is being kept prisoner by the Japanese army in a hole in the ground across the bay from Nagasaki, and when the fateful day arrives, he saves the life of the kindly, terrified soldier who releases him.

Decades later, Logan is a broken man, wandering the snowy wastes of Canada with no purpose in his life, having bar fights with rednecks and dreaming about the life he could have had with Jean Grey (Janssen).

But a demure, Hentai-like samurai girl comes to collect Logan and deliver him to Japan, where Yashida, the soldier he saved who's now a rich industrialist, wants to repay him for what he did. It seems the man has found the secret to Logan's immortality and can offer him the end he wants.

Once there, he realises the old man only wants Logan's power of eternal life for himself, and no sooner rebuffs him than ninja and samurai goons descend to attack the household containing several generations of the Yashida family.

He accompanies the beautiful, sad daughter of the family to her country retreat, trying to stay one step ahead of the forces that want her dead long enough to shag her and find purpose in his life/ But when the svelte villain mutant Viper strikes and takes his new beau prisoner, he has to travel to the mysterious headquarters of the corporation and face all manner of technological horrors (including yet another Transformer thing that we've already seen in Thor and Pacific Rim, let alone the Transformers films themselves).

As I said, it's leaps and bounds ahead of the original X-Men Origins spin-off, but it's just another empty comic book movie we've already seen a hundred times, even without the ringing in our ears 2013 left many of us with.

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