After the hour and forty minutes of “meh” that was “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009), the franchise was heading down a dark path. When “The Wolverine” (2013) was announced, it was assumed that a reboot would ensue. That wasn’t the case at all.
This film takes place after the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006). Logan (Hugh Jackman) lives in the woods and has vowed to never hurt another human being. He’s haunted by visions of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and memories of his past. Logan’s summoned by an old friend (Hal Yamanouchi) who offers to take away his ability to heal (and his immortality) as repayment for saving his life.
It’s not the action that is surprising. The action is exactly what you should expect out of a summer blockbuster. What is surprising is the same element that catches you off guard in “Batman Begins” (2005). The atmosphere of the film is completely different. Logan is haunted and struggles with his personal terrors in tandem with being a hero. It’s the inner complication that makes this seemingly indestructible mutant human. The ensemble is peppered with flawed characters and it is not ignored, which is something that the majority of action films choose to overlook. It flavors the film by providing the perfect spice to the main course of action.
The action scenes are can’t go without note. Not only is our hero back with a vengeance, his foes are also a different breed. From a dangerous vixen with a poisonous tongue, to a gang of guys who seem to have an endless supply of knives, to (perhaps) the most legit group of ninjas to ever grace the big screen, “The Wolverine” satiates even the largest of action-packed cravings. The storyline may be slightly predictable, but the ride is thrilling and enjoyable.
Is it the best film of the summer? It’s hard to tell, but “The Wolverine” is definitely worth your time this weekend. Show times can be found here.
Little Rock Movie Examiner’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
MPAA rating: PG-13
Minimum age group: 14+
Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking
Violence: Extreme violence, swordplay, bloody battles and suspenseful situations that may be frightening to younger children
Similar titles coming out soon: “Kick-Ass 2” (August 16), “Thor: The Dark World” (November 8), “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (November 22)
Other films you may like: “Batman Begins” (2005), “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006), “Real Steel” (2011)