The tension and anxiousness was palpable, as fans and critics alike have anticipated this second instalment in X-Men’s Wolverine saga for over a year. The first, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, while pulling in over $300 million worldwide, disappointed the critics and fans, and it seems that this new offer may not fare any better.
Set deep in the heart of Japan, chronologically this directly follows the last X-Men chapter. Beginning with the Nagasaki nuclear explosion, the imagery straight from the opening dazzles. Thrown years later into the future, Wolverine is scouted out and brought to Tokyo to meet with familiar faces, which is where the trouble begins. While the mystery of the ever-changing enemies is brilliant at keeping the feeling of danger and surprise ever present, it’s the fight sequences where director James Mangold fares best. The use of close-ups of the intense fighting creates immediacy, allowing for the intensity Mangold was assumingly aiming for. 3D is used surprisingly effectively here, particularly during these thrilling sequences of violence.
The Wolverine aims to explore the heart of the character, which Jackman portrays with the touching level of sympathy and realism. He takes to this character seamlessly, as do the rest of the cast. Unfortunately, his performance is not enough to carry the film’s lacklustre direction. Mangold’s faithfulness to the comics and aim to present Wolverine in a consistently serious manner have hindered the overall enjoyment. Maybe, on the other hand, intensity and reflection is what is needed from an Origins story, as opposed to constant action and quippy lines.
However divided they may be, fans may want to hang on for a little while post credits. As hinted at by Hugh Jackman recently, there is a teaser of what is to come next year when the seventh instalment is to be released – X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The Wolverine is released nationwide on 24th July 2013.
Watch the trailer for The Wolverine here: