In Wolverine's last solo film, he made a decision to travel through life alone, turning down Gambit's offer. The audience is no longer following the events that took place right after the last film. This time, Wolverine is dealing with the aftermath of "X-Men: The Last Stand." The timeline has jumped considerably.
He has terrible dreams, a history of violent events roll through his mind. Flashes of Jean Grey haunt him. His ability to heal, regenerate his cells, has kept him alive much longer than any normal person would live. To see the people you love and care for continue to die around you for decades can take its toll.
Japan was the next logical step for filmmakers to take from the timeline the original film. It is here that our hero meets the love of his life (originally before Jean Grey). Her name is Mariko, played shyly by Tao Okamoto. Depending on the storyline (comic book or otherwise), many things happen that ultimately end up splitting the two apart. In "The Wolverine", Mariko and Logan meet because he was summoned by a dying acquaintance to Japan. Logan simply wanted to pay he respects in the very least.
The story spins out of control from this point. A mixture of characters from different timelines in the original stories are put together to make some sense of where the film wants to go. The audience is introduced to Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), a not so well-known agent of a subversive organization. The Silver Samurai also makes an appearance of sorts through Yashida, played by Hal Yamanouchi. Wolverine does lose his ability to heal himself in a way. His mutant power is suppressed, but not fully taken away.
The special effects and action scenes are fair. The ability of the actors to fight is commendable. However, they feel like stand alone pieces that do not fit into the flow of the story. Furthermore, some moves are expected. Wolverine flying into the camera with both claws outstretched is one of them. After a while, the audience can long for more creativity.
It would be great to see the deeper areas of the character explored. We know that Wolverine can fight, he has a mutant healing ability, adamantium claws, and a short temper. Hugh Jackman became physically stronger, yet again, to portray the character, which is outstanding. However, one could wonder if something else is missing.
Perhaps a simplified storyline that stays true to the original and highlights what really makes Wolverine probably the most beloved X-Man of the group. Bring him down to Earth and share what gives him purpose to continue to live for all these years. That may bring out the heart of the real story here.