The Wolverine

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Being the Wolverine can’t be easy — buttoning shirts, shaving (hence the mutton chops), having to constantly hear people say, “Stop that, you’ll poke your eye out!” and now, being chased by ninjas. No wonder the guy just wants to be alone.

Hugh Jackman is back as Logan/Wolverine in the sequel to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. Inspired from the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller Marvel miniseries from the 1980s, the film is far superior to the previous work, and is a clear standout in a summer full of (mostly) mediocre action films.

Different from your basic brooding Superheros like Batman – who has gadgets, not super powers, or Superman – who gets his powers from his home planet, Krypton, the X-Men are mutants, possessing an X-gene, which gives each X-Man or X-Woman a unique characteristic. In Logan/Wolverine’s case – long sharp spikes emerge from his fists when he becomes stressed. Personally, I think that spikes coming out of my fists would be stressful by themselves, but that’s just me.

Lured from his self-imposed solitude by red-haired Yukio (Rila Fukushima), who looks like a living anime character, Wolverine heads to Japan for a reunion with a soldier whose life he saved years before, but before he can say, “Dooitashimasite”, he finds himself defending the man’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto) from all manner of ninja and Yakuza assassin.

As always, Jackman infuses the mutant with a kind of depth rarely seen in this type of film, and moving the action to Japan offers an interesting juxtaposition between Wolverine’s instinctive wild nature and the formal traditions and customs of the Japanese people.

Director James Mangold (“Knight and Day”) has done a fine job in bringing “The Wolverine” to life, and is not afraid to weave quiet scenes with non-stop action sequences. (A fight sequence atop a 300 mile per hour bullet train is worth the price of admission.)

The Bottom Line: This one is worth seeing on the big screen, in 3D if possible. Although the film was converted to 3D after the fact, the process genuinely improves the overall look of the film. Bring the older grandkids. You’ll both enjoy it.

PG-13, 2 hr. 16 min.

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