As you can probably discern from the fact that it took me so long to get onto this second Wolverine instalment, I was not excited about it whatsoever. You may remember that I was far from impressed with X-Men Origins: Wolverine so it should come as no surprise. So let’s see if it was any better…
We pick up pretty much where we left off, only now, Logan (Hugh Jackman) is haunted by the spirit of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who is a regular fixture in his dreams. Or nightmares, if you will. The story itself it primarily focused on the Wolverine taking down his ultimate nemesis (nothing original there), except this time it takes place in modern day Japan (slightly more original). Filled with high action fight sequences and blockbuster-style visuals, the rest of it is your general superhero movie fodder.
Despite the story being far from interesting overall, The Wolverine is a decent improvement on its predecessor. From the very first shot, that’s remarkably clear. This movie was made with a lower budget, yet its production values are far superior. That’s what having James Mangold does for you, I guess.
As previously alluded to, changing the setting of this one to Japan makes it more interesting than the first film before you even consider anything else. It sets it apart visually and the combat choreography is genuinely phenomenal, John Wick style stuff. (I swear I wrote this before finding out Jonathan Eusebio choreographed this too, and you’ll know how big a fan I am of his work if you have read either of these Wick reviews. I guess I just have an eye for style 😉). This film goes above and beyond though. The sequence on the train?!?!? Breath-taking content. To be honest, it’s worth a watch for that alone.
Unfortunately, plonking the character of The Wolverine into the limelight is still not enough for me to be truly interested. It feels as though they did their best with the script to make it more entertaining, but without all of the X-Men it’s simply not as gripping a watch in my opinion. You know like the feeling you get when all The Avengers come together? You’ll get none of that here. Although I will admit that Viper (played by Svetlana Khodchenkova, pictured above) is a pretty badass villain.
Credit to Jackman where it’s due in spite of my personal distaste however: he reverts back to a more broody, moody Logan in this one, which is how we like him. Jackman embodies this character like no one else could when he’s at his best, and he proves to everyone here that firing him from the first X-Men movie would have been a big mistake. Huge.
In terms of lighting, sound, effects, choreography and cinematography, this is a brilliant movie. Mangold pulled out all the stops, that’s for sure. But on the enjoyability scale? Still a bit of a snooze, improvement on the previous film or not.
The Wolverine is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
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Overall Rating: ½