Logan, better known as Wolverine, is played for the sixth time by Hugh ‘Les Misérables’ Jackman in the second spin off movie about our hairy hero which is a sort of semi-sequel to the 2006 outing X-Men: The Last Stand. Everything clear so far?
Here we find Logan bearded and dishevelled, wandering the woods, wracked with guilt over the death of Jean Grey/Phoenix (Famke Janssen), who fans of the franchise will recall he had to kill when she turned to the dark side. It happens.
She haunts his dreams, dressed in skimpy underwear, asking when he’s going to die and ‘join her’ – but that’s the one thing he can’t do thanks to his remarkable regenerative powers.
When he meets a mysterious Japanese swordswoman named Yukio (Rila Fukushima), Logan is re-introduced into society and finds a will to live in the Far East after meeting Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a soldier whose life he saved when the US bombed Nagasaki.
Director James ‘Knight & Day’ Mangold handles the slim plot well and adds sufficient quality action set pieces to keep X-Fans happy.
Wolverine has his work cut out when he has his powers diminished by nasty mutant Viper (Svetlana ‘Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy’ Khodchenkova), who is determined to reunite him with Jean Grey.
Other perils include Yakuza mobsters, vengeful ninjas and a showdown with a giant robotic Samurai suit of armour made of the same ‘unbreakable’ Adamantium metal as Wolverine’s claws.
There are plenty of things to make you smile in appreciation but nothing likely to really linger long in the mind – 2013 has already seen such a wealth of high spectacle blockbusters, and it’s hard for The Wolverine to stand out.
What certainly does stand out is Hugh Jackman’s frankly fab physique.
He looks every bit as buff now, at a sprightly 44, as he did when he first played the part in the first X-Men movie in 2000, and he spends a lot of the film topless to prove it.
At one point Yashida tells Logan: “Eternity can be a curse. The losses you have had to suffer... a man can run out of things to care for, lose his purpose.”
But thanks to a killer ‘after the credits end’ scene that whets the appetite for next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past it looks like there is plenty of life in the X-Men franchise yet!