"The Wolverine" claws into theaters Friday with Hugh Jackman reprising his role as Logan for the sixth time.
In a summer that felt so overloaded with one big-budget movie after another week in and week out, it would be easy for James Mangold's ("3:10 to Yuma,""Walk the Line") Wolverine film to get lost among the bigger superheroes.
It also felt easy to write off after 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" film. (The movie did well at the box-office, but it's no secret it didn't sit well with fans.)
However, don't count this one out. It sounds like Jackman's return to theaters is a must-see.
What's all the fuss over?
Here's what the critics are saying about the film.
First and foremost, this is not a sequel to 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
“'The Wolverine' comes close to being a low-key character reboot, and along the way delivers a solid, popcorn-flavored action-adventure that should delight genre fans, as well as admirers of Jackman’s alarmingly muscled physique."
"Not only does it distance itself from the critically mauled X-Men Origins: Wolverine, dropping the "X-Men" from the title frees Mangold from many of the constraints of sequel-making and prevents the scattered focus that would accompany a multimutant world."
Jackman is amazing.
"Jackman once again goes full in, embracing the Logan that fans first fell in love with in the pages of the X-Men. The result is, finally, the Wolverine movie we've always wanted."
"Whether hoofing it in a Broadway musical or crooning as Jean Valjean in ‘‘Les Miserables,’’ that charisma makes him always worth watching."
Don't expect much from the rest of the cast.
"Svetlana Khodchenkova, as Viper, is supposed to be villainous but comes across as only vampy; she recalls Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy in ‘‘Batman & Robin,’’ only less interesting."
The film has a train fight scene to end all train-fight scenes.
"Mangold uses the occasion to give a distinctly Japanese twist to the tried-and-true battle-atop-a-speeding-train -- in this case, a bullet train -- hurtling along at 300 miles per hour. It’s a bravura heart-in-mouth sequence, expertly staged, and there’s plenty more goring and slashing where that came from."
"By now, we've all seen so many beat-downs atop locomotives that they've become numbingly similar. But the one in The Wolverine is so frantic and adrenalized (not to mention the only part of the film that takes advantage of 3-D) that the familiar becomes new again."
"James Mangold sets one terrific action scene — the film’s best — on a speeding bullet train, making great use of those claws."
Like all superhero films, this one has its problems, but they're mostly near the film's end:
"A perhaps too cartoonish villain emerges during the finale, as does some CGI action that is more over the top than the rest of the film that precedes it."
"The rest of the film becomes standard slice-and-dice, all the way to the ridiculous ending involving a baddie in adamantium armor."
"It’s still full of corny dialogue (you know, those punchy one-liners conceived to fit in tiny talk bubbles above the characters’ heads)."
"Director James Mangold has fashioned a fairly engrossing, if occasionally convoluted, tale based on the Marvel Comics figure. But an extended battle meant as a climactic clash grows tedious."
Overall, everyone says it's good.
"Thirteen years after his mutant debut in Bryan Singer’s terrific X-Men, Jackman, also a producer here, owns the Wolverine character. The charismatic Aussie has added some martial arts moves to his character’s slice-and-dice repertoire, is buffer than ever and shows no sign of flagging."
"In this age when superhero movies are increasingly concerned with universe-building, it's refreshing to get a film like The Wolverine that mostly stands alone."
"'The Wolverine' is the cleanest, least pretentious and most satisfying superhero movie of the summer."
"While it's definitely a more entertaining and far deeper film than the last Wolverine outing, it still falls short of the top tier of Marvel tentpoles like the fizzy Iron Man and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man."
Check out a trailer for the film:
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