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on 18 October 2013
If you're still smarting over the disaster that was Origins (not including the title sequence, which was the only good part of that movie!)then you can feel confident that The Wolveriene will leave you with a much better sentiment.

Still fitting into the continuity of the other X-Men films but without many constraints imposed upon itself, The Wolveriene is a great standalone film which helps to flesh out the titular character, which in many people's opinions is the most interesting in Marvel lore.

On the whole Jackman does a great job at portraying Wolveriene, and slightly more nuanced than he has played the role in the past. I liked how superheroes aren't always at the forefront and it's more about vendettas and relationships. The action that does feature is, on the whole, excellent and not too 'OTT' (in contrast, I found Man of Steel to be overly action orientated) right up until the final showdown battle with Silver Samurai, which I felt went too much with the expected Hollywood ending.

Overall though it's a great film, and you don't need to be into Marvel or superheroes to enjoy it.
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VINE VOICEon 5 July 2014
The Wolverine is a 2013 action fim starring Hugh Jackman as the iconic Wolverine. It is largely set in Japan and based loosely on the graphic novels by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller which saw the start of Wolverine's Japanese connection. The run-time on the Blu-ray is the same as the theatrical release. There is some talking head feature as part of the Extras but not much else. The Blu-ray comes with a downloadable version.

Wolverine is one of the greatest of the comic book heroes. His sense of honour, the underdog with that rage, his immortality, and pervading sense of grief are so well known. Wolverine's journey into Japan is a part of his lore, something well known to fans. It is good to see this part of the great Wolverine on screen.

The Wolverine is not a direct translation of comic book onto film. In the Extras, producer Hutch Parker says that the best films do not stick too closely to canon. He is completely wrong. The closer a film sticks to its origin the better it tends to be with only a few rare exceptions. The Wolverine is not an exception. It is a good film but never great, it is not as interesting or exciting as the world from which it was drawn but it is a perfectly fine action adventure.

One of the most difficult things about The Wolverine when compared to the original is Hugh Jackman himself. He is a magnifcent Wolverine. Jackman is so intense, appears to be locked so deep in thought all of the time. The fire within burns throughout and seems to be just on the cusp of control. It is an excellent performance. The problem though is that he is too big. This is not just an issue of comparison but also affects the way his character comes across. Jackman is a really big guy. Wolverine is a notably average height superhero. With Jackman on screen he never seems like the underdog in this film. Every physical scene looks like one his opponents have no chance to win. Part of Wolverine's mystique is his willingness to take on unfavourable odds. The sense of drama lacks when Hugh Jackman towers over his opponents and his huge muscles are enhanced by lighting and some visual effects.

The worst example of this is the fight scene with Shingen Yashida played by Hiroyuki Sanada. Jackman is nearly a foot taller than Sanada who is a small framed guy anyway. Normally in these situations it is the little guy who the audience should support - Bruce Lee in Game of Death being the stereotypical example. It is hard to sympathise with a brutal savage who overpowers his rivals and in any case cannot really be hurt by them.

Far more effective are the character driven elements of the fillm. In particular, Wolverine's appearance at Nagasaki that fateful day is an outstanding sequence. It does what works so well for the Wolverine character in previous films in that it takes real happenings and puts Wolverine into them in a realistic way. The sequence with the future Yashida patriach in which Wolverine saves his life is beautiful and really quite moving. When he returns later in the film to that same spot it is something quite special.

There is though not really enough character and there is too much action. The action sequences are generally ok rather than excellent. The use of a slightly different choreographic style for Wolverine compared to previous films is good, the use of samurai swords always a winner. However, the battles with Yakuza are not especially exciting. Part of the lack of drama is that Wolverine is too powerful, he is always going to win. The absence of other mutants makes it an immortal demi-god taking on puny mortals.

The final sequence vs the Silver Samurai is terrible. The Silver Samurai looks far too bulky and unrealistic. It is a tin robot, the sort of thing Terminator should be taking on rather than Wolverine. It is a real surprise to find this abomination was designed by the legendary Weta Workshop. Possibly it needed to be so big and appear so clumsy because Hugh Jackman is too big.

An exception to the poor action sequences is the ride on the bullet train. Fight scenes on trains are nothing new. What makes this sequence work so well is the sense of speed. It is really well directed to have the illusion of threat from speed generated by blue screen. The Bullet really does seem to travel at its breakneck speed. It seems to pose a real challenge to Wolverine, the sequence is excellent.

When he is not fighting, Hugh Jackman is outstanding. He is a magnificent screen fighter but the directing and choreography really let him down. However, the directing cannot get in the way of his wonderful screen presence. There is a calmness about Jackman that always seems to be on the brink of breaking apart. His interaction with the other characters, especially the women, works well. Jackman's Wolverine is a troubled beast trying so hard to deny the monster within while doing everything he can to support those around him. Jackman captures his character so well it generates real pathos.

Jackman's primary screen compatriots in The Wolverine are relative unknowns Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida and Rila Fukushima as Yukio. It is Yukio with whom Wolverine first interacts and the pair seem ideal. The playful and fun Yukio seems to be exactly who Wolverine needs to be with, ideal girlfriend material for him to shake him out of his permanently sombre mood. Unfortunately the beautiful Fukushima is not the love interest, she is just the bodyguard. Fukushima seems to be having fun in every scene she appears in, her light footed combat style is really pleasing to watch. It is a bit confusing to see Yukio wearing the red and grey hoops worn by Lady Deathstrike in the animated series and it seems to associate the two. Fukushima looks great in the outfit though, almost the cyberpunk part of Japanese culture.

Tao Okamoto has less presence. As love interest Mariko Yashida she is not overly endowed with personality. She also does not look the part. Okamoto is a much more westernised vision of beauty. She is very tall, slender, almost frail. Okamoto's modelling career has existed in part because she does not look typically Japanese. In Japan this makes sense but there seems little point in casting a Japanese person who looks just like a westerner. Mariko is subdued and quiet which is supposed to make her a contrast for Wolverine's rage but it is too close to the contemplative Wolverine on screen most of the time. Compared with the imposing Hugh Jackman, Okamoto really fails to shine at all.

The minor characters are not given much to go on. Villain Viper is a fun threat but plays a limited role in the story. Kenuichio Harada seems to be a good marksman but in the comic to movie world is just a poor man's Hawkeye. It is a bit weird for the original character of the Silver Samurai to just be a bit part player in a film that actually features the Silver Samurai. Jean Grey makes a brief un-needed appearance mid-way through the story.

Visually The Wolverine is good. It looks decent on Blu-ray. The settings are great, using parts of Tokyo and other parts of Japan adds authenticity.

The Extras are terrible. Nearly an hour of verbal back-slapping between the various talking heads does not a special feature make. It is a great example of what not to do. There is hardly any behind the scenes activity, nothing about how things unfolded the way they did, just line after line of slightly defensive self-praise.

The Wolverine is a missed opportunity. It is a missed opportunity to take one of the greatest characters of the 20th century, put him in one of his iconic settings in Japan, and present the next great comic book based film. Director James Mangold seems to have got much of it really quite wrong. This film should have been slower in the Japanese style. It should have been more character based and dialogue heavy. The action sequences are generally poorly designed. The casting of Tao Okamoto was a mistake.

There are really great things about this film, notably the excellent acting of Hugh Jackman and Hiroyuki Sanada as well as the playful Rila Fukushima. It could have been great, it is just ok.
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on 16 January 2016
I'm a massive Marvel/super hero fan but not really that big a fan of Wolverine.Despite his back story that I've seen in comic,cartoon and film form now(maybe the problem is over exposure?)I find him one of the least interesting characters of the Marvelverse.Having said that I'll watch any Marvel film that comes out and there's no denying that Hugh Jackman was born to play the role.Marvel films tend to fall into four categories for me.Excellent(Avengers Assemble,Guardians Of The Galaxy,Iron Man),Great(most of the X-Men films,Spider Man,Thor),Okay(Incredible Hulk,Daredevil,Fantastic Four) and Oh Dear(Hulk,Elektra,Ghost Rider).Then The Wolverine was released and didn't fit into any of my boxes.It has a different vibe to the usual super hero film,which whether good or bad still feel like your'e watching a comic book explode into life.This time round,Wolverine's mood/state of mind,the setting(Japan) and the general absence of super beings fighting for screen time are what gives it more of a noir-ish/thriller feel,also making It much better than X-Men Origins:Wolverine(which was 'okay',just!).My only gripe?The main villain was a bit of a let down.But it was still a Wolverine film and i did enjoy it.But please.No more now.There are another billion characters out there!
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on 20 August 2015
I was a fan of Wolverine since long before Hugh Jackman took on the role but he is something of an added bonus. This was always going to be a winner for me. The Wolverine could not have been cast better. Not too many dodgy special effects, a nice, human storyline and not too much Hollywood schmaltz. This had the potential to be a really bad spin-off but we were pleasantly surprised.
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on 3 August 2016
Another solo foray for Wolverine, and again it's a pretty average film. Not sure if it's the director or the writing but this film just doesn't work for me. It's a vast improvement on the Xmen origins version, but that wasn't exactly difficult to achieve. From the comics Wolverine had very strong ties to Japan & it's understandable why they went this route for the film, but the story is poor, and as with all the Xmen movies they have a complete disregard for the timelines. So it watchable if you are a fan, and not the worst way to kill a couple of hours , but will probably collect a lot of dust in my dvd collection before it's watched again.
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on 13 May 2015
I like Hugh Jackman, he's a good strong actor who always delivers a good performance, but this film was somewhat of a let down for me, it's somewhat confusing as it flits back and forth between the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and present day. I still don't know if Wolverine was indestructible before they filled him full of adamantium or not??????????. For me, not a good watch.
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on 31 August 2014
Original for the japanese setting and a unexpected drama/love/intimistic story, nobilitated by a samuray/like sense of honor. A pleasant surprise by a versatile director like James Mangold, who mark the story with the touch that's always made the difference in all his films (Copland as much as 3:10 to yuma): a sensibility toward human souls and people's relationships.
Blu ray is very good and the Japanese setting is perfect for visually interesting shots that are perfectly exposed in HD.
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on 19 June 2014
This was trashed by the critics when it came out and so I had avoided it until now. I only watched this as a precursor to the new X-men film (the post-credit sting is the connection between the two). I had pretty low expectation and perhaps because of this, was pleasantly surprised. It is much better than the reviews say (don't get me wrong, it's no lost classic, but it's streets ahead of the previous Wolverine solo film) and an enjoyable super-hero action film.
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on 5 June 2015
Of the same quality and gripping plot intensity as the other X-films, though this is very much a solo-op for the wolverine.

I liked many of the Japanese angles and the twists and fight scenes were more thought provoking than the usual brash thuggery we see so often. Lots of surprises here and there. Gripped from start to finish and thought about it after.

If I had one gripe it'd be why Wolverine gets the girl, probably a money-men focus group voted it so, but seemed a less plausible and less tantalising option than to leave things unrequited... it certainly brought little extra to the table.

I can't argue with the results here: Success; recommended for X-fans
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on 31 March 2015
Finally we have a Wolverine film worthy of the character. This one has drama, actual jeopardy and a great storyline.

This one has claws, no pun intended. It puts Wolverine in a dramatic situation and ramps up the drama all the way through. It was a smart move to lift his Japanese story and to make his healing powers redundant suddenly adds a vulnerability sorely lacking from past adventures.

A gripping story which may start off a little slowly sons becomes engrossing and the action beats are superbly executed. It's fun, gritty and totally enjoyable. A huge step up from the insipid first Origins film and hopefully a sign of things to come even if Hugh Jackman is starting to get a bit old for the role.
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