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The Wolverine

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On the virtue of the body

This is another story about the Wolverine’s immortality. At the end of WWII, he is released from a prison camp by a Japanese officer whose life he proceeds to save twice in a couple of minutes. Japan has lost the war; some officers feel they could not live with defeat, who had not felt they could not live with dishonor. The Wolverine survives even the dawn of the nuclear age.

In his old age, that officer invites Logan back to Japan. Yashida promises mortality; his messenger puts it this way, an honorable death, which is one path to another kind of immortality… Logan is skeptical. He owes Yashida nothing. Whatever Yashida’s releasing POWs means, he has no claim on Logan, given the war & Logan’s saving him… Yashida wants Logan’s immortality, but Logan refuses. Does Logan want to know what Yashida did with his life?

You will be happy to know Japan is the old men’s desperate scientific effort to gain power to fight fear of death. They’re like everyone else, but they hide tyrannic desires behind claims of honor. In Japan, gangsters dress like priests, business marries into gov’t, & the few lord it over the many… Japan is what she was. The Japanese family is coming to horrific in-killing in face of defeat. Less justice than a gang of thieves…

Logan was not changed by WWII either. He is both higher & lower than Japan. He may feel a kind of connection to the military code of honor. He might even like the aristocratic law of family. But Logan knows right from wrong & acts on it, despite the trappings of convention. Ablutions feel to him like a violation. He has no respect for piety, but he understands health. Then a sickness comes over him that grips his heart.

The dying seems to be connected with sex because of vulnerability. The woman he had to kill comes to him in dreams; they are again lovers, he again kills her. Then the woman who tries to kill him comes to him in another love dream. Knowing right & wrong might mean you don’t need to trust anyone, but how do you sleep at night? It is only after he almost dies that Logan can make love to a woman. This reminds us that he has no children, but he is saving others’ children.

Logan’s animal rage, his preternatural aggression continuously challenges law & civilization. His contempt for science is not mitigated by its usefulness to him. He already knew to kill. Technology saved far more lives than Logan. His honor is his superiority. He protects the weak from the strong, whatever the danger. He defends this knowledge from science.

The best X-Men movie made.