Based on the 1980’s one off Marvel Comic book by Frank Miller, comes the second spin-off, of X-Men’s ‘THE WOLVERINE’. Originally a project which Darren Aronofksy was going to direct, this film adaptation of the comic was meant to be ready for a release back in 2009, only for Fox to insist in telling how Wolverine got his adamantium in the horrible ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (despite the story being told in a 2 minute flashback perfectly in ‘X2’), With Aronofsky gone it fell into James Marigold, who with this film has had his film undersold by the marketers at Fox, as this is a far more personal story then it any needs to be.
Let’s start with the advantages. First it probably has the best action sequences this Summer Blockbuster season, off a sword fight on top off a Bullet Train, which surprisingly brings a large amount of jeopardy to the characters. It’s refreshing to see this, particularly with the amount of city destroying carnage which has been seen through the year so far. And while fans will not like how perhaps its not the ‘definitive’ Wolverine like in the comic(s) because of its lack of blood, for a ‘12a’ I still found the films violence largely strong (I wound not take a under 12 to see this, I can imagine its ‘12a’ as it doesn’t dwell on the injury so much), but a Director’s Cut Blu-ray should sort this out on Home release for the fans. The second main advantage to this is Hugh Jackman himself, who has one heck of a presence on screen. Credit must go to his posture of his acting and look which adds to the characters dramatic weight, and certainly confirms him as one of cinema best superheroes still currently active. Also to I must point out there is (even if it isn’t full of Mutant ones) a surprising wide arrange of female support characters, which are not played up for sex appeal. That and there is a surprising respect to Japanese culture (even if Wolverine isn’t doing karaoke here), something which the Miller comic was known for.
This isn’t a straight port of the Miller comic, while its based in Japan and has the same characters, this film acts as more a follow up to ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ (the comic was based before Wolverine joined the X-Men), but it has a good mentality of if audiences are not familiar with the franchise, you can view this as a standalone piece. It’s a shame thought towards the end the plotting get a little silly (it ends up being a very reminiscent to Japanese Anime ‘Roujin Z’), and revolves around going down a formulaic root of going from point A to point B. The third act does act like a videogame too, complete with boss on top of mountain top battle and power-up sword. This is along with some noticeable plot holes (how can they cut his hair when it shown it grows back from his healing ability/no one cares that there will be massive sword marks through the top of the train when getting off at the station). However there is good fish-out-of-water comedy here (reminds me of ‘You Only Live Twice’, with Wolverine being Bond here).
Still it works, it’s refreshing from city wide destruction and Jackman’s is probably the best current superhero in cinema. Is it a definitive form of the of the character? I think yes in a cinematic form. Generally good stuff if you omit the negatives, or and stick around after the pre-credits for a little tease for Bryan Singer’s ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ – which I think is going to be huge when released next May.