Raphael Georg Klopper’s review published on Letterboxd:
I solidly have a lot of respect for what James Mangold tried to do here, and in many ways accomplished, to give a new facet to super-hero movie making. Firstly, by miracle, making us forget that god awfull first Wolverine movie (that takes some cinematic genius to do), and for start, actually make a character driven film, more focused on its character development that in its action blockbuster spetacle. This is a heart/mind-broken tormented Wolverine, the hero haunted by its dark path and trying to find something impossible for him, and honorable death. Almost a clash of the cold-hearted grumpy broken character of The Outlaw Josey Wales with the sort of pursue of a honoroable death like Masaki Kobayashi's "Harakiri", envolved in a true aura of a character study film insert in a plot of spy-thriller (ballzy cool stuff). The calm slow pace of its dialog driven narrative is another adding to that recipe, and even makes the movie more grounded and trully realistic (I dare say even more than any of the Nolan's Batmans).
Even the unnecessary love story with the lady in distress Tao Okamoto's Mariko is surprisingly well builted and even touching. Though its pacing varies from slow to broken fast-paced making the narrative really clumsy in some of it emotional beeps, though everything flows WAY better in the unrated/extended cut of the film. Especially its brutal fast paced action scenes really well orchestrated and shot, where we can FINALLY see some blood coming out of Wolverine's victims and some f-bombs out of its mouth for good measure. Hell, this could easily have been the defenitive Wolverine movie for the fans and trully a great one....but them comes the Poison Ivy twin swister part of the plot, and the big samurai metal robot in the third act delivering the frustrating big explosive CGI action that the movie was trying to avoid, but FOX had to put their fingers into the mix, or that was just maybe Mangold still learning how to make a super-hero film. At least we have an always devoted Hugh Jackman perfect as always in its born-to-be character, and for bonus we got Hroyuki Sanada, he is always great!
In the end, we have here a movie that I trully respect its efforts to give some maturity and cinematic tropes to its genre and suceeds most of the time (in its unrated/extended cut, go watch it!), but it falls down in some of the predictable third act extravaganza and cartoonish characters. But still, we got a decent showcase of a stand-alone film focused on its character at all times and in the end trully gives a new step to the character in the X-Men sort of cinematic world that this beloved character and actor soo deserves. At least untill "Logan" comes out in 2017, that one looks the real thing we deserve and need!