The Wolverine - Blu-ray Review

'Castle, princess, levels to get through. It's not even that The Wolverine resorts to comic book formula; it resorts to a 'story' Mario has been telling better for years.'

There's been some speculation from its champions that The Wolverine's failure to kindle a spark of excitement under the legion of comic book movie fans is at least partially down to the fact that it tries to do something different; something more human, something transplanted from a US location, something with a bit more of a character focus.

This would seem like a coherent enough argument, were it not for James Mangold's film's final third. After a fairly careful attempt to re-establish Logan (Hugh Jackman), the man, as someone we care about and place him in decidedly human-led surroundings, The Wolverine's finale reverts drastically and damagingly to formula. Gone is the character study and adult-friendly plot; instead strong female lead Mariko (Tao Okamoto) is whisked away to become a damsel-in-distress at the hands of a big bad, whilst the titular hero gawps at a legion of underlings. Castle, princess, levels to get through. It's not even that The Wolverine resorts to comic book formula; it resorts to a 'story' Mario has been telling better for years. The terrible costuming of the eventual villain and Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), both of whom look like they have come from a different film (which at this point The Wolverine may as well be), does not help.

All of that means that Mangold wastes what at times promised to be an interesting piece. Logan's dispatching of some annoying bear hunters in the film's opening could happily have formed the basis for a film much more earthy of tone and, for a time, it seems to be heading that way, adult-orientated swearing and all. Jackman performs at peak as he has done for years, embodying a character whose future you worry for, should he decide to pack it in, as has been intimated in The Wolverine fallout.

The dark, circular setup of the main plotline in Japan works well too and the presence of Yukio (Rila Fukushima) as a female lead apparently not ready to swoon at the rippling sight of Logan's chest, makes for a great and welcome change.

But despite all of that, the final third leaves such a strong taste of dismal defeatism (can superhero films ever escape this sort of end?), that the rest of the good work here somehow conspires to fall by the wayside. If this is Jackman's last go at the character then it is not only a shame that he leaves without having seen him star in a good stand-alone film, but also that the material may have been there to produce such a thing, and that that material was then gratuitously wasted.

The Wolverine is out on DVD, Blu-ray and On-Demand in the UK from Monday 18th November.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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