After a long campaign that has seen James Mangold promising or at least suggesting an arthouse-ier blockbuster, and with everyone involved kicking 'Origins' to the curb, it looks like "The Wolverine" is simply better than that movie and not much more. Of course, improving on 'Origins' is hardly a Herculean task, and many of the mixed reviews seem to strain to find the positive in what really sounds like another by-the-books, formulaic superhero outing. The fangs came out in this movie, but they don't seem to have much edge.
Anyway, we've round up the first batch of notices below. Thoughts? "The Wolverine" hits on July 26th.
Sci-Fi Now: " 'The Wolverine' manages the delicate balance of respect for the source and the convention of the genre, big top sensation, and an unlikely, heart-wrenching emotional punch."
Bleeding Cool: "When it works, it really works. But for my money the pace is a shade uneven. Turning over the final act to an (admittedly thrilling) standard CGI smackdown of just the kind that the film has been skilfully avoiding for the past hour seems like a cop-out. 'The Wolverine' promises much. And gives you just enough to realise what you’re missing."
Den Of Geek: "But for the most part this is a good movie. It gets Wolverine in a way that the last film completely failed to. It has something to say about the character, and it says it. Because of that, we can mostly forgive the bizarre tone shift of the final reel, or the tics that weaken its presentation."
Total Film: "The good news? An improvement on Origins. The bad? Not as big an improvement as you were hoping for: perfectly decent, but ponderous too."
Twitch: "Jackman is on form, Mangold lends his solid if uninspired directing style and there's a great Kurosawa reference, but the film lacks the punch it needs. By aiming a little too high and not quite meeting its promise, 'The Wolverine' is a slight disappointment."
Flickering Myth: "Unfortunately though, the film is not without its flaws – most of which start to surface in the final third. While the script is fairly simple yet tidy initially, it starts to get quite clunky in the final half hour or so and feels as though more time could have been spent constructing a more suitable finale....The unique story coupled with beautiful scenery, an excellent supporting cast and berserker rage suited only to our favourite hero make this a film that anyone can enjoy – though I suspect that die-hard Wolverine fans may enjoy it a little more."
Empire: "An improvement on the last outing for Jackman’s not-so-merry mutant. If only it trusted enough in its unique setting to forgo a descent into aggressively awful formula."
The Telegraph: "Where is the quicksilver wit and lightness of touch of the Avengers and Iron Man films, or the formal ambition of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy? The previous X-Men film, 'First Class,' was secure enough in its own skin to embrace its comic side. Mangold’s picture affects a pubescent snarl instead: that’s the difference between comic and daft."
Mirror: "Aside from the odd moment where our man flashes his claws, this looks like a burn-and-churn cheapie."