Last night I saw the latest of Marvel's X-Men franchise, The Wolverine. I'd seen a number of trailers and promotion over the summer, but I wasn't sure if we were getting something worthwhile, or a repeat of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Thankfully, this movie was everything its predecessor wasn't: carefully paced, relatively low-key, contemplative, and created with a stark style and sensibility which actually felt Japanese.
The plot is pretty simple. Logan is taken to Japan to say goodbye to Yashida, a man whom Logan saved from the Nagasaki blast. Yashida, now an immensely wealthy and powerful businessman, offers to take Logan's healing and immortality from him, so Yashida can live on. Yashida likens Logan to a ronin, a masterless samurai, a soldier looking for a death he cannot find. Logan refuses, but soon after is struck with an ailment that hinders his regenerative abilities. Wounded and on the run from Yakuza thugs, trying to protect Yashida's granddaughter, Logan has to find something to live for in order to survive.
After the movie, discussing it with friends, we've noticed a trend with superhero movies lately; the stripping and deconstruction of the hero to the point of being a normal man, thereby seeing why they're needed. Although this was done very well in Superman II, lately it has been revived with the latest Batman, Iron Man, and even the latest Bond movie (see my review of Skyfall for more about this). I think in general, this sort of plotline works very well, especially for the more well-established characters who are notoriously hard to challenge. In fact, I'd say that if this movie does have a big flaw, it is in its villains. I found their motivations murky, poorly developed, and ultimately more complicated than what was needed to be effective.
Overall, however, this was a solid film, and I hope the next X-Men film learns from the strong points in this film.