If you ask me about Iron Man, I’ll probably know the basics. Asking me about DC villains will get you a blank stare. But mention James Howlett -- aka Logan, aka Wolverine – and you’ll need to grab a chair and get comfortable.
As far back as I can remember, he’s been my go-to for comic good guys. Wolverine is more than indestructible claws and wicked cool hair. He’s a constant reminder of the battles we all fight within our own human nature. Amid the battles and explosions, there is an important life lesson this hero can teach us: You are who you choose to become.
Wolverine is known as the reckless one – the fighter, the brawler. His gruff nature and urge to flex his reinforced fists comes from a life of heartache and disappointment. In The Wolverine, 20th Century Fox’ sixth X-Men film, we see this brooding personality coming to a climax as Logan (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan. Alone and in despair, he realizes that once again nothing comes easy and he will have to fight for what he wants. Logan is no stranger to confrontation, but in this James Mangold film, he’s faced with a new threat of being lured to a darker side by a beautiful yakuza assassin named Yukio.
The Wolverine spins off in a different direction from the previous Origin films as the fine line between his animal instinct and his human compassion takes center stage. It’s that personal turmoil that makes this movie a useful teaching tool for adults and kids alike. We may not be held responsible for saving mankind on a daily basis, but we all fight the battle of doing what is right versus doing what just feels good. The Wolverine embodies this conflict with Logan’s choosing between the good and pure Miriko and the evil, wild Yukio.
This film is about who Wolverine is – inside – and not the power of what he can do on the outside. It’s the battle of the mind versus the flesh. Gone are the superhero costumes and witty Academy banter, to be replaced with the steeped history of the Japanese culture of honor, yakuza hierarchy of power, and how rational thought must overpower physical impulse.
The Wolverine won’t disappoint die-hard comic fans, offering up the CGI super fights and action-packed, heart-stopping moments we’ve come to expect. But it will also open new doors so that we can peek into Logan’s search for personal peace and control over the monster he could become.
Kenda is the editor-in-chief of Remaking June Cleaver where she blogs about technology, entertainment, healthy living and more. To read more by Kenda, visit RemakingJuneCleaver.com or follow her on Twitter @RemakingJune.