Wolverine… but in Japan!
It is easy to get lost in the current X-men time line what with all the sequels, prequels, half reboots and origin stories so to get something straight The Wolverine is intended as a straight sequel to X-Men 3 so there is lots of a ghostly Jean Gray rearing her large forehead at inopportune times. Despite this obviously still being fresh in his mind ‘loner’ Wolverine still immediately finds himself embroiled with another damsel in distress in the form of newcomer Tao Okamoto’s Mariko. Before any of this however we see Logan at Nagasaki while the A bomb drops which makes for a pretty impressive visual spectacle.
The visuals are admirable throughout actually what with most of the movie taking place in vibrant and colourful Japan and the acting and basic premise are also solid. Hugh Jackman has now completely nailed playing Wolverine and gives possibly his best performance to date in the never ending franchise. The story is an interesting one and there is more to it than ‘What would happen if Wolverine fought Samurai!?’ but this being Marvel and and an action film it still falls into familiar tropes (good guys turn out to be bad guys and also a fight on top of a train? Really?).
One thing that sets The Wolverine apart from nearly every film that takes place in this world is the relative lack of actual mutants. Wolverine and antagonist Viper aside it is slim pickings with Logan mostly battling mere mortals plus his own inner demons which is an interesting direction to go in.
I love all of the X men films (apart from X-men 3) including X-Men Origins: Wolverine so it was going to be hard for experienced director James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted, Walk The Line) to miss as far as I am concerned but for Marvel sceptics this will do nothing to change anyone’s mind and for Marvel fans I know I am not the only one who would have much preferred a Deadpool or Gambit movie.
A solid if possibly unnecessary entry in an already bloated series.