The Wolverine (2013)

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James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima in this X-Men film where Logan goes to Japan to protect the daughter of a man he saved in WW2.

Oof… we are tantalisingly close to a great film here. There are moments of brutality, isolation and sentiment that warn us of the eventual quality of Logan. There is a prolonged chase sequence from funeral to bustling streets to bullet train that feels like a Frank Miller / Chris Claremont issue come to life. Jackman, though subdued, gets plenty of room to shine… a restrained romance and nice buddy dynamic with his psychic ward (a stand-out Rila Fukushima). We get so close to the finish line following a route of noirish intrigue and bubbling emotion that it almost looks like The Wolverine will pull it off. Wash away the bad taste of the toyified mess that was Wolverine: Origins. Jackman arrives in a picturesque Japanese town for the final showdown, ninjas anchor him in arrows and chain… and then we end up in a fucking lab with fucking robots, fucking monsters and fucking falls off endless metal balconies. The franchise reverts to its baser instincts. It doesn’t just go full comic book, it goes full shit comic book. Sacrificing atmosphere and tension for mindless, weightless clatter. We almost got there. We get there eventually.

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