Release date: July 26, 2013
The story: The Wolverine begins with the eponymous hero in Nagasaki, Japan, when the U.S. Air Force drops the atomic bomb. He saves the life of a Japanese soldier, Ichirō Yashida, and surviving a nuclear blast sets up the plot involving Logan’s healing factor in the present: What if Wolverine could die? Haunted by dreams of Jean Grey after he kills her in X-Men: The Last Stand, an exceptionally rugged Logan wanders the wilderness until he meets Yukio, an ass-kicking young woman who brings Logan to Japan to say goodbye to the dying Yashida, who has become the wealthiest man in the country. Yashida offers Logan the opportunity to transfer his healing factor to a different person and achieve the death he’s been denied, but the man seemingly perishes before Logan accepts the offer. He loses his healing power anyway when the slinky biochemist Viper unleashes a robotic suppressor that deactivates his ability, but despite his new vulnerability, Wolverine is unwavering in his dedication to protect Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko, who is now a target of multiple villains thanks to the wealth she’s just inherited from her grandfather.
Logan saves Mariko from would-be kidnappers at Yashida’s funeral, fleeing on a bullet train out of Tokyo. The two quickly fall for each other afterward. Playing a very similar role as Kayla in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Mariko soothes Logan when his nightmares wake him, and their new romance makes him even angrier when Mariko’s fiancé successfully abducts her. Wolverine takes out both Mariko’s fiancé and murderous father on his way to Mariko, and even finds time to perform some heart surgery on himself to get rid of Viper’s implant. With his healing factor restored and Yukio by his side, Wolverine fights his way to the research lab where Viper is keeping Mariko hostage. There he discovers that Yashida is alive and operating a giant robotic samurai suit of adamantium armor that he intends to use to steal Wolverine’s healing factor. A fight ensues that ends with the deaths of Viper and Yashida, and Logan’s experience abroad compels him to return back to the old life he’s been trying to escape. The main plot ends with Yukio and Logan headed back to the states, but the film’s epilogue jumps forward two years to set up a new mission for Wolverine when Professor X and Magneto approach him for help.
Noteworthy events: The Trask Industries commercial playing in the airport during the post-credits scene sets up the villain of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Bolivar Trask, and it’s heavily implied that Professor X and Magneto are enlisting Wolverine’s help to take down Trask and his mutant-hunting Sentinel robots.