In the Marvel and DC worlds, continuity is an abstract concept. Main characters die and resurrect, the same or wholly different. Origin stories come and go. When it comes to movies from these alternate universes, often all that really matters is the main character and the main actor. That would be the case for “The Wolverine.” I expect the initial finance meeting went something like, “It’s a Wolverine movie.” “Okay, do you have Jackman?” “Yep.” “Here’s your millions.” But for a lot of moviegoers that is all you really need. Get Hugh in the funny haircut, with the promise of some digitized adamantium claws, and you’ll make your money back. Frankly, I do not need to discuss the plot. It’s a Wolverine movie.
Before I pound on its weak points, let me say, never let a critic’s statements dissuade you from seeing a movie you want to see. Everyone is a critic, and taste is solely a matter of personal preference. One person’s meat and potatoes are someone else’s Cracker Jacks. For “The Wolverine” there is no surprise toy in the box. As far as acting, everyone pulls their weight, but that isn’t asking much. As for Mr. Jackman, something sophisticated, like Method Acting, no longer applies when he sports the claws. I admire Mr. Jackman’s work. I loved him in “Les Miserable.” But he and the Wolverine have become interchangeable in some ways. I get the feeling that he remembers his lines, and then looks to the director who says, “Get mad in this scene. In the next scene, be mean. In the following scene we need to pull some heartstrings, so play it less mean.”
The direction is virtually invisible, except that more could have been asked for from the actors. The cinematography is equally unremarkable. There are no memorable shots. I will say there were a few nice, subtle uses of the 3D technology. Some shots had wonderful scales of depth that created a very nice comic book feel. The action is fine, with the highspeed train sequence taking the show. The writing is average. Like the photography, there are no memorable lines. In fact, it may even be worse than that, with one whole sequence of lines being lifted directly from James Bond’s “Diamonds Are Forever,” (1971) apparently unintentionally. They clearly did not tip their hat in that direction. I rather suspect the writers are not aware of it at all, even now. The continuity crew obviously works within the Marvel universe, as there are at least two major continuity gaffs, and more if I were to really pick some nits.
It is worth the ticket, but just barely. If you miss it, no one will know, not even you. No one is going to be using any quotes from this one, or talking about it for very long.