PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Entertainment

July 26, 2013

'Wolvie VI' has claws

— Wolverine has long been one of the most popular characters in the X-Men comic book universe. That should explain why this fan-favorite character gets yet another shot at cinematic glory with this weekend’s release of “The Wolverine,” the sixth movie to feature Hugh Jackman in the role.

The good news is that the sixth time is the charm, as the film turns out to be both a thrilling action picture and a surprisingly complex character study. As far as superhero mutant movies go, “The Wolverine” is pretty good.

Things start off in the Yukon, where Logan, aka “Wolverine” is living an isolated, nearly feral existence. Enter the red-haired, katana-wielding “bodyguard” named Yukio (Rila Fukushima) who has been tasked with bringing Logan to Japan. For those of you not up on your X-Men lore, it turns out that Logan was a World War II prisoner of war in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb went off.  He saved a Japanese soldier’s life, and now that soldier hopes our hero can save him once again.

Logan finds himself caught up in a power struggle that pits him against everyone from Yakuza gangsters to ninja assassins and a few supernatural creatures with deadly powers. It’s exactly what you would expect from a summer blockbuster, and for the most part, those battles are quite thrilling. Case in point, a superb fight sequence set on top of a bullet train traveling 200mph through Tokyo. It is edge of your seat stuff and easily one of the most thrilling action scenes of the year.

The would be enough for most summer blockbusters, but “The Wolverine” mixes in some actual character development, a well thought out script and, believe it or not, genuine acting from most of the main characters. Hugh Jackman is superb once again in the role that he seems to have been born to play. We also get a solid performance from Fukushima, whose battle-ready heroine should prove to be hit at the next Comic Con convention.

It’s not all perfect. There are a few characters who come across as little more that cardboard stereotypes, not to mention the final battle sequence which proves to be a bit of a letdown. The truth is that the last thirty minutes of the film are not as well made as the first hour and a half. Still, there’s more than enough good stuff to make “The Wolverine” worth the ticket price. Don’t forget to stick around for the credit teaser that will get fans excited about the next X-Men film.

As much as I liked “The Wolverine,” the fan boy in me is even more thrilled to see that 20th Century Fox has the franchise back on a firm footing once again.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.

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