Hugh Jackman as Wolverine takes a break from the X-Men in new solo movie 'The Wolverine' which will be released imminently. What do those who've had a first preview reckon?
Set in modern day Japan after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine will follow its titular knuckle-bladed character as he faces his ultimate nemesis in a battle that will change him forever and leave him more powerful than ever before. There'll be katana-swishing samurais, gangland crime, ancient clans, and bullet train battles as Wolverine's travels take him East to meet new mutants in a role that Hugh Jackman bulked up for by eating "an awful lot of chicken, steak and brown rice" under Dwayne Johnson's advice.
Hugh Jackman Took Weight-Gaining Advice From Dwayne Johnson.
Set for release over the next few day, the film's already received generally appreciative critical reception but The Guardian's Henry Barnes isn't delighted with the previews, saying "The fights are predictable, the scenery disappointingly drab considering the potential in Tokyo's neon-lit wonder-world," whilst recognising that the shortcomings of the movie could stem from director James Mangold's history of being more qualified as an "actors' director than action man," with films such as Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma and Girl, Interrupted under his belt. Barnes also observes that spark and interest could be waning in the X-Men because "the franchise has been snicked into strands so twisted from each other that its getting tough to trace the genealogy."
From L-R: Tao Okamoto, Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima.
However, Variety's Peter Debruge praises the more sideways look at the franchise and Jackman's portrayal of the character that has defined his career: "Jackman is in top form, taking the opportunity to test the character's physical and emotional extremes. Fans might've preferred bigger action or more effects, but Mangold does them one better, recovering the soul of a character whose immortality made him tiresome" and IGN concurs that the "story paints a deep and compelling portrait of Logan, a haunted character that Jackman still finds new ways to play all these years later."
With a budget of $100million, globe-trotting locations and a highly effective trailer, Fox's The Wolverine is set to smash it big as a mega summer blockbuster at the box office. The movie may not be a game changer but the likeable Jackman with his mutton chops, claws and frequent shirtless displays will continue to entertain no matter how inconsistent the narrative. The movie takes some daring moves, slicing 'X-Men' from the title to imply it's a standalone project as well as the subtitled Japanese, which takes the Wolverine concept out of its comfort zone and shows there's still plenty of life left in the mutant franchise and its spin-offs.
The Wolverine will be released in 2D and 3D on 25th July (UK) and 26th July (USA) in cinemas.