Set after the events of X-men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine finds the mutton-chopped mutant in a dark state. When he is flown to Japan by a man he saved during World War Two he finds his immortality may not be so permanent after all.
Director James Mangold made his vision for The Wolverine very clear during filming. He wanted to create a new breed of comic-book blockbuster, infusing it with Western and Noir influences. The result is perhaps not what he had wished for.
There are many positives in the film, it is glorious to look at, and its genre influences create a fresh feel to a tired genre. However, as with all studio blockbusters, it has to keep all of its fans happy. It manages to keep its rebellious edge intact until the final act, when, somewhat inevitably, it falls into the cliches of the genre. Overblown set-pieces, CGIed baddies and very little substance take away from what the rest of the film had built. It is a shame, and one can’t help but think that if Mangold had his way this could have truly of been something special.
The action sequences (barring the finale) are to be admired, however. They display an inventiveness complimented by its beautiful location. Japan becomes a character in itself as its ancient temples and speeding trains shine on screen. If only every comic book movie had the moxie to set the entirety of its film somewhere other than America.