First Hugh Jackman’s adamantium-clawed Wolverine was brought to the screen by Bryan Singer in 2000, and his hairy freak ranted his own solo encore in 2009’s underwhelming X-Men Origins: Wolverine. ¬†And now Jackman and director James Mangold (Knight and Day; Girl, Interrupted) have teamed up to bring out the claws once again in The Wolverine.
The story starts sometime after the ending of ‚ÄúX-Men: The Last Stand‚ÄĚ. Wolverine, or Logan, has gone off the grid, haunted by the death of his beloved girlfriend Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), whom he previously killed, and committed to leaving violence behind. He appears to have an unspoken understanding with the wild beasts he lives amidst, and contempt for most humans.
As the film goes on, mysterious woman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) steps in, who appears to work for Yashida, a wealthy Japanese tech mogul whom Logan saved from atomic annihilation back in World War II.¬† Now a rich industrialist is on his deathbed and requesting Logan’s presence to thank him and settle the karmic debt that he believes he owes him. Of course, that’s not all Logan wants.
So far, so good. But ‘The Wolverine’, directed by James Mangold, quickly becomes a bland love story between Logan and Yashida’s granddaughter whom he must protect from an assortment of villains. They‚Äôre soon on the run, with one very important wrinkle: Logan‚Äôs regenerative abilities appear to have stopped working.
Wolverine begins to experience something he never has before ‚ÄĒ the actual fear of death. He’s been sapped of his eternal life force and now, when he gets into one of his signature slice-and-dice brawls, the wounds he suffers no longer cauterize and heal. He’s both physically and emotionally vulnerable. In other words, human.
Jackman himself, who’s played Wolverine more times than any other actor has played any superhero, lets his experience with the character show. He, as always, is the bright and shining constant. It‚Äôs the same experience as watching Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man series; it‚Äôs impossible to not enjoy watching him play this role.
He delivers a solid performance that is all flared nostrils and pumped chest, then nicely melts into an emotionally and physically vulnerable wreck when the plot demands. For his compelling performance alone, ‘The Wolverine’ may be worth a watch.
The result is a film that you admire for its good intentions more than you actually love. There are some great ideas and sequences here; just making a movie about Wolverine dealing with his guilt over Jean Grey‚Äôs death feels like cause for some kind of celebration, writes The Verge.
The numbers say or themselves, as 20th Century Fox ‚Äės The Wolverine¬† earned $4 million in Thursday night grosses. This one is pretty easy to play around with.¬† Four years ago, X-Men Origins: Wolverine kicked off summer 2009 with $5 million in midnight screenings, leading to a $35 million opening day and an eventual $85 million opening weekend, reports the Forbes.
In 2006, X-Men: The Last Stand earned $5.9 million in midnight screenings, leading to a huge $45 million opening day, $102 million Fri-Sun debut, and a $122 million Memorial Day weekend. Two Junes ago, X-Men: First Class earned $3.37 million at midnight for a $21 million opening day and a $55 million opening weekend (6.1%).