The Wolverine

The Wolverine ★★★★

The X-Men series gets a fair amount of (unfair) criticism for washing out the bright colours so associated with the characters, thanks in no small measure to the animated series. That's where I think the strengths of The Wolverine lie, it completely dials back any distraction brought about by colour or sensational powers/mutations and firmly makes it a story about Hugh Jackman's Logan. The cans of hairspray have also been left alone and the character looks older, grizzlier and less and less like a superhero. Jackman bringing it as Wolverine is as certain as the sun rising and setting every day, so there's no real need to try and pick apart his performance.

That doesn't mean we don't get to witness a new string to the X-Man's bow. Facing his own mortality, and even contemplating if he wants that, is a fascinating new insight into the character and allows for a more serious exploration as opposed to just slicing a few bad guys into little pieces for 2 hours.

There's a real sense of class in this film, nothing is too overboard. Alright, the main villain of the piece is a giant Adamantium robot, but the major action set-piece - the funeral attack and subsequent bullet train sequence - are not embellished unnecessarily with Paul Greengrass-style camera work or a pounding, overwhelming score. Everything is stripped back to allow the story to emerge through the action. That's also evident in Logan's battle with Shingen. The lighting is really low and you view most of it as shadows and silhouettes but it's a classy way of showing a pretty gruesome fight scene that isn't allowed to be gruesome because of the lack of an R-rating.

Also, best post-credits scene from any superhero movie. No debate.

I've picked a really convenient time to revisit the X-Men/Wolverine series as details are finally emerging for Jackman's final outing as the character in Logan. After watching this film, I read the official synopsis for Logan and holy hell, does it sound exciting.

2013 ranked
X-Men ranked

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