Where to begin? When it comes to the world of the mutants, there is no one who is more ubiquitous than the mighty "Wolverine". Hell, one would think that Cannuckle head had managed to steal Jamie Maddox's powers! Between his ability to run a school for mutants, be an Avenger,and have his own ongoing series, where does he even have time for a movie?
This is one of those rare movies, where they admit that the mistakes of the past happened. They outright acknowledge that "X-men The Last Stand" wasn't some strange "What If" story, but was in fact cannon for this movie universe. Personally, I applaud this decision. Sure, that movie actually made money, despite being a travesty, but still... I have to assume that the writer of this film knew how bad that one was.
The movie itself, is not particularly awful. It has a decent patch of exposition, several twists, and some very admirable action sequences. At times, it does seem to suffer from a bit of villain overload, but... it is mostly forgivable. The movie manages to include one of the few bright spots in Wolverine's storied history, by introducing Mariko Yashida, in a loose adaptation of an older story line from the 80's by Frank Miller.
The movie features Hugh Jackman reprising a role that he has in some way portrayed in 5 other movies, and will be reprising again next year. He plays the role well, even when scripts are less than kind. And, this movie is fun enough, that I can forgive a majority of the sins. However, if I didn't make fun of them, my attempt at a spoiler free review would be ... difficult.
This movie sees the X-Men universe introducing Japanese Hawkeye. Well, that's not his official name, but every arrow he shot off reminded me of Hawkeye. At first, this led me to believe I might get a team-up between Wolverine and Japanese Hawkeye, which would be the closest thing to Wolverine joining the cinematic Avengers I think I will ever get.
Fortunately for me, I am not terribly familiar with the story that the movie is based on (considering it is almost as old as I am) so I have no frame of reference as far as the adaptation goes. However, their treatment of the Silver Samurai tells me that it isn't 100% true to form.
While the film does drag on at times, and it seemed dead set on hitting every single Japanese Stereotype knon to man, it was an enjoyable enough watch.
RECOMMENDATION: For those disappointed by the lackluster "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" seek redemption from that crap here. While this is not going to win awards for being a shining example of modern cinema, it will not leave you with the bad taste that previous Wolverine movies may have.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY?: This , for me, is always the hardest question. Back when I could get into any matinee showing for an affordable price, I could almost always recommend hitting a movie in the theater. Now that I am being charged nearly 9 bucks for a matinee, it is a much harder sell for me. I think there were definitely scenes that look better on the big screen, but on the whole, this one boils down to personal preference. I'd say wait for the Redbox, and enjoy it at home.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a movie that I went into with a great deal of anticipation, and a very low expectation. After his previous two starring roles as Wolverine, I was not expecting to walk out of the theater with anything more than a bad taste in my mouth. However, the addition of a mid-credit scene helped to coax a smile out of me, even if it did feel like 20th Century Fox was looking at the audience saying "Look, we can do it, too!" Suffice to say, this is going to be required viewing material going in to next year's X-men flick.
FINAL SCORE: 8.25 out of 10
As an added Bonus an "Honest Trailer of X-Men Origins: Wolverine"