3 1/2 Stars
James Mangold brings his first-class skills to the superhero genre with outstanding results in a morose, exciting, and gorgeously designed production that finally does justice to the Wolverine character and long-time laborer Hugh Jackman. The filmmaker and his creative team have set the story in a less fantastical world than the previous films and moved the location to Japan all to greater effect. The theme that Logan is a Ronin is a nice touch that is referenced in dialogue, setting, and character development. From the rousing and gripping opening passage to the climactic battle between Wolverine and a three-story high robotic samurai the film relentlessly enthralls.
Lured to a Japan he hasn’t seen since World War II, century-old mutant Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) finds himself in a shadowy realm of yakuza and samurai. Wolverine is pushed to his physical and emotional brink when he is forced to go on the run with a powerful industrialist’s daughter (Tao Okamoto) and is confronted — for the first time — with the prospect of death. As he struggles to rediscover the hero within himself, he must grapple with powerful foes and the ghosts of his own haunted past.
Giving Jackman his solo film was first attempted back in 2008 with the wretched X:Men Origins flick. That terrible film can now be completely removed from memory now that James Mangold has brought his considerable talents to this material. Reverting back to the role that made him a household name, Jackman, continues to embody the beloved character with his armor like physicality and a touch of sadness in his eyes. The Wolverine is a wonderfully constructed film that uses CGI as an aid to tell its tale but doesn’t get overwhelmed with special effects in lieu of good old-fashioned storytelling.
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Hiroyuki Sanada, Will Yun Lee, Famke Janssen