Wolverine: Origins wasn’t a great film, to be honest but expectations for The Wolverine when it was announced were a little bit higher. Originally, Darren Aronofsky was attached to it but he left the project. Enter James (Identity, Cop Land) Mangold to helm it. So we fast forward to 2013 and The Wolverine has hit the big screens. The film begins well: we see Logan save the life of a Japanese soldier at Nagasaki. Then we flash forward to a Logan who is living rough out in the wilds of the US. The Wolverine starts in a very lowkey way, which is a refreshing change from the bombast of the usual superhero fare. But then it starts to take a different direction. Logan is approached by Yukio (Rila Fukishima), who represents the soldier he saved during the Second World War. Apparently he is dying and he wants to see Logan one more time. So through guilt, he is forced to come to Japan but the real reason for the visit is far more sinister and so events are triggered which threaten Logan’s very existence. The original Frank Miller and Klaus Janson miniseries that this is loosely based on was a great story but obviously Hollywood had to mess around with it and so we have a film that starts strongly but gets more and more silly as it progresses. Jackman is good value as Logan/ Wolverine as always but the payoff and the final battle is particularly stupid. Also, the love affair between Logan and Mariko (Tao Okamoto) doesn’t have much time to ring true on screen and the 3D is pretty pointless as it doesn’t lend much to the experience. Mangold does offer some nice visual flourishes here though: the battle on the train is well directed as is the massive ninjas vs Logan fight towards the end. But it does feel that they have taken the character to a visually arresting setting and then stuck him in the same old jeopardy without using the Japanese setting properly. It’s not a terrible film by any means and it is an improvement on its predecessor. It also sets up things for X-Men: Days of Future Past with the obligatory post-credits stinger. But it does feel a little bit like a wasted opportunity. The Wolverine is a fun but forgettable summer blockbuster with some nice touches and a silly third act…

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