Recently, celebrating a friend’s birthday I was questioned about my reaction and review of “The Wolverine”; chagrined, I confessed to never having seen “X-Men” or the first rendition of this infamous “Marvel” mutant. Rectifying my previous ignorance/arrogance, I swallowed my elitism and found, as a neophyte, a surprising and empathetic attraction to “Logan” aka “The Wolverine”, his gravitas and monumental mission to rid the world of the nefarious.
Hugh Jackman, devoured six thousand calories a day, resulting in robotic, Mr. Universe perfection; with lethal claws, he is a man/mutant doomed to immortality, watching all that he loves die; coffin-confining wounds, miraculously healed; a sad savior thrust upon the Japanese world of the Yakuza (organized crime syndicate), rescuing the destiny of heiress “Mariko” (ethereal, Tao Okamoto) with the aid of his bodyguard, “Yukio” (sprightly, Rila Fukushima) and slightly “mutantesque”. Vivacious, villainous “Viper” (leggy, lithesome Svetlana Khodchenkova) positively poisons her very scene; evil has never been more rapaciously appealing.
Being a lifetime urban dweller, my only proximity to a near-wolf has been a Siberian Husky; after minimal research, discovered that wolverines (derived from the Latin Gulo Gulo, meaning “glutton” also known as devil bears) really do inhabit the earth, thriving in the wilderness of Alaska, Russia, Canada and Greenland; they are the largest terrestrials of the weasel family; mieskeits, carnivores, predators with a life expectancy of between 5-7 years. It takes a stratospheric leap of credulity to paint “Logan” in this pack, but he flourishes handily in the uncultivated, frigid Alaskan forest.
“The Wolverine” is incredulously, exhilaratingly filmed; plummeting the senses with wizardly, acrobatic feats; director James Mangold is masterful in cloaking the hero with the sensitivity, angst, despair of living for generations, seeing the spectrum of man’s foibles, yet still the harbinger of hope and heart.