Hugh Jackman brings an appropriately rugged weariness to the role of the title Marvel Comics superhero, a reluctant immortal who journeys to Japan and gets caught up in a ninjas-vs.-yakuza war over Mariko (Tao Okamoto), the granddaughter of the man Wolverine saved from the Nagasaki A-bomb blast at the end of WWII. (Got all that?) Women, including his elfin “bodyguard” Yukio (Rila Fukushima), all love him, but the only one the clawed one dreams about is his dead wife (Famke Janssen). Somber and restrained as the story is, director James Mangold and writers Mark Bomback and Scott Frank paint it in bold, vivid strokes that make other comic-book flicks look, uh, juvenile by comparison. Thrilling support playing by Will Yun Lee as an arrow-firing warrior and Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper, a poison-squirting femme fatale. (126 min.)
Director: James Mangold
Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker, Hugh Jackman, Stan Lee and Joseph Caracciolo Jr.
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Famke Janssen, Will Lee, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi and Ken Yamamura