Logan is given some emotional depth here, a sadness. A grimness. He has had it in the X-Men movies, too, of course, but here it is heightened. While the subplot of subduing his healing isn’t one I liked, I think Jackman and the script do a nice job of humanizing Logan as he grapples with it.
Tao Okamoto as love interest Mariko is fantastic. The character is sketched a bit too much as the “Perfect Princess” for my taste, but the actor captures her shyness and deep need for respect well. I do wish the character had been given more depth.
Rila Fukushima as Yukio is my favorite side-kick from any super hero film in a long time. She’s funny. Cute. Sexy. And a wickedly good fighter. She also moves from lethal fighter to deeply respectful female seamlessly, playing both elements of Yukio’s character well. Again, I wish the script had given Yukio more attention, though. She too is not treated well by the writing, especially since she is absent from the film for a good chunk of its middle. All in all, I hope she returns for the next Wolverine installment (it certainly appears that she will).
I have heard and seen it said that a super hero film is only as good as its villain. And that is where this one falls. Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper is awful. Her performance is flat, emotionless and dull. She is meant to be sexy and intimidating. She is neither. The only saving grace is that she is given relatively little screen time.
Hai Yamanouchi as Yashida offers a decent performance, but his character is only marginally more interesting than Viper. He is, more or less, a purely selfish psychopath with next to nothing that is even remotely sympathetic. The writers Mark Bomback and Scott Frank do a nice job of laying the bread crumbs so that we are not surprised this man is still alive, but that is about all they do well with Yashida’s character.
The dream sequences with Famka Janssen’s Jean Grey are quite good. They come at the right times. Might have been one or two more than necessary, but that is easily overlooked, because Janssen’s performance is strong and these scenes provide Logan’s depth.
The action scenes are universally exciting and the effects excellent. The fight on top of a bullet train stands out as especially compelling.
A preposterous plot and bad villain pull down the film, though. That much is true.