The Wolverine – Fox’s attempt to save face after the less-than-fabulous X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie – is finally out. While critics haven’t yet had their way with it, early reviews seem to be generally favorable. The story and setting of Wolverine seem to be what everyone finds most appealing about this installment in the massive X-Men movie franchise. The film puts Logan/Wolverine in an unusual setting – pre-war Japan. He is tasked with the mission of protecting he heiress of a business empire, Mariko Yashida (Tao Okamoto), from various factions who would see her controlled. On his quest, Logan finds himself crossing Japan, from Tokyo to rural, pre-war areas, and getting involved in all kinds of physics defying action. It’s this fact that works wholly in the film’s favor, as the scenes and history of Japan, as well as the impressive Japanese cast, are attracting the highest praise.

Check out the trailer here.

Den of Geek’s James Hunt calls the film good “for the most part”. While The Wolverine is called out on its bizarre tonal shifts and complete and utter lack of subtlety (especially where Japanese culture is concerned), the film gets a positive, if hesitant review. Hunt notes the fact that this movie finally “gets” the character of Wolverine as enough of a glimmer of hope for the franchise.

Hugh Jackman, The Wolverine UK Premiere
Even Jackman's winning smile can't convert everyone.


The Mirror’s review, on the other hand, is decidedly less enthusiastic and quotes like “an awful lot like one of those burn-and-churn cheapies that Nicolas Cage would sign up for” pretty much give away the gist. David Edwards finds little worth praising in the film and claims that director James Mangold’s promise to make this a “deeper, darker” movie doesn’t seem to have come through.

Gotham News’s Pietro Filliponi, on the other hand, has a lot to say about the film’s gritty, dark portrayal. He calls it “the Wolverine movie fans have been waiting for for a long time” and praised the effective storytelling and the insight into the character that this film provides. Overall, it seems like a mixed bag so far. However, the film has not had its wide release yet, and that could be what tips the scales either way.

Hugh Jackman, The Wolverine UK Premiere
Then again, there's not a whole lot of smiling in this film.