If ever a man wanted to fade out of the mainstream and hibernate like his beloved bear, drifting in a limbo of self-imposed seclusion, away from a life of boisterous battles, it was Logan, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Away from all that was considered normal; a life trapped in a super-human profundity. He yearned instead for a life of peace and quiet. The only thing he had to battle were the painful memories, one from which he couldn’t find an escape, still he created his world and it was his, at least for a few years.
‘The Wolverine’ (directed by James Mangold) began strong. Nagasaki Japan, 1945. The mushroom cloud and its antecedents typically viewed from pictures taken from a safe distance was brought closer with the final race of an all-important duo doing all they can to beat it’s bellowing and fiery breath. Two men, interwoven in a tale of hope and humanity and unlikely friendship, and a giving of life.
One of the men is dying in today’s Japan. His protégé, Yukio (Rila Fukushima) has searched like a needle in a haystack, for the man who had saved her mentor for a final farewell. It helps that Logan is in a state of rage against those who have left his only companion for dead, a grisly at his most beautiful prime tenaciously holding on to life until Logan humanely helped him along.
Tokyo is laid out like a jewel pulsating with life and lights. Logan stands out like a sore thumb, unwashed, unshaven and in clothes that had seen better days. After he is scrubbed like a potato by an uptight chef, he is presented to Yashida now old and worn. Yashida who owed him his life. A sad farewell and he would be on the next flight home. But why did it feel like Logan was in the lair of the Tiger?
Successful and stupendously rich, Yashida is now a brand with a cult-like following. Logan and Yashida’s meeting is in a way, like the first, Yashida seeks to prolong his life by taking from Logan. And there begins a struggle that takes the story from Tokyo to Nagasaki, now breathtakingly beautiful, the fauna and landscape speak of Nature’s forgiveness of the decades old bruising inflicted by Man.
To save Yashida’s heir Mariko (Tao Okamotohe), Logan is lured to a final battle where his very essence is violently ripped out by Yashida in his bid for eternity. For a vulnerable time, Wolverine is fully human and must wrest what belongs to him out of the claws of the Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova). She was slippery, magnetic and determined. And a chameleon. The shedding of the garments of the oncologist was swift and the snake that took her place was fluid and full of venom.
‘The Wolverine’ laid bare one of X-Men’s best. From Mutant to Human, how would it end? While the cinematography brought our superhero to life, the movie alternated the violent outbursts with themes of love, betrayal and benign normalcy in parts in tentative harmony. The story unveiled itself a little bit at a time and kept a grip on the audience. Yashida had awakened the sleeping giant and we weren’t going to sleep anytime soon.