The Wolverine

James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma was a cinematic highlight of 2007, and his 1999 character study Girl, Interrupted, was a strong film, for which Angelina Jolie won the Oscar for best supporting actress. Mangold is probably not gifted, but he is talented, as is evidenced by earlier works (including the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line) and the latest in the Marvel comics film franchise, The Wolverine, which stars  the estimable Hugh Jackman. In this outing, Wolverine has disappeared into the wild after killing his true love, fellow X-man Jean Grey / Phoenix, after her mutant telekinetic powers went berserk and threatened to destroy the planet (or at least a sizable portion of it) in X-men: The Last Stand. Blessed / cursed with exceptionally long life because of his ability to heal from mortal wounds, Wolverine is summoned out of seclusion to the bedside of a dying friend, whom he saved during the bombing of Nagasaki in World War II.  The friend, the head of a power Japanese family and biomedical concern, hopes to persuade Wolverine, who has occasional dreams of joining his beloved Jean in the after life, to pass along his healing abilities and restore vigor and vitality to the dying man. Layered on throughout the narrative are threads involving corporate intrigue, kidnapping, family jealousy, social status prejudice, and a secret society of Ninja warriors in league with a poison spitting dominatrix named Viper. It's a real goulash and not an entirely satisfying one but I would wager for fans of the X-men series it will be entertaining enough.


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