I have been a Wolverine fan most of my life, being introduced to the character at a young age through the 90's Animated series. I have also loved seeing him in the movies, as although not all off them have been amazing, with X-Men Origins: Wolverine having a lot wrong with it I still love to see the character, and hope that he's shown well in this film.
Wolverine travels to Japan to pay his final respects to Ichirō Yashida, a man who he saved from the atomic bomb. He then lands up trying to save his granddaughter, Mariko Yashida from Yakuza, whilst finding out that he's lost his healing factor.
This was a very good film, and although it was far from perfect, it was a vast improvement over X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as there wasn't much that I hated as a comic book fan. The main thing that let the film down however was that it was a little too slow paced at times, centring more around character development, and interaction that story. It did however have the explosive fight sequences that you'd expect from a Wolverine film, and there was plenty of it. James Mangold did a decent job at directing this films, as although it's not quite as good as some of his other films (eg. 3:10 to Yuma, and Knight and Day) it wasn't the worse film that he's directed, and he showed that he understands the tone of this story.
The cast was something that I had mixed feelings on, as although I liked most of the chosen cast members, there was a couple of choices that didn't work in my opinion. I'll start with the star of the film, Wolverine, who was once again played perfectly by Hugh Jackman. Jackman has been playing this role for thirteen years now, and although he's slightly taller than Wolverine should be, he's perfect in all the other categories, showing the emotions, and broodiness perfectly, as well as giving explosive action performances. This film would also see one of Wolverine's love interests shown in the form of Markio, who was played by Tao Okamoto. Okamoto did a great job of the character, showing the kind heartedness of her character, as well as the strength of character, and was perfect in the role. The other cast members such as Haruhiko Yamanouchi as Ichirō Yashida, Rila Fukushima as Yukio, Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen Yashida (though this character wasn't as you'd expect), Will Yun Lee as Kenuichio Harada, Brian Tee as Noburo Mori, all did good jobs of their roles. It was however Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper that disappointed me, as she didn't suit the role.
One of the key concepts of this film was a mortal Wolverine, without his healing factor. Now this is a very interesting concept, and it was done very well in this story. With Wolverine being a man who hasn't had to worry about getting injured in the past, as well as having not felt the full pain that something like a gun wound, or a cut will give it was nice that they showed him having to get used to this, feeling strange, and out of his element. This did however make me continue to question the logic behind Wolverine's hair, as when he was burned to a crisp early in the film it grew back to the same length, the he had it, and his beard much longer. The film would also show him shaving whilst his healing factor was gone, which would also suggest that his hair in connected to that, making me continue to question the logic.
This issue would also show the start of Wolverine's relationship with Mariko. To be fair this is the only part that is taken from Chris Claremont, and Frank Miller's Wolverine series, with the rest being fairly original. The relationship itself was however shown perfectly in this film, as although it was the main thing that slowed the pace of the film, it was still very emotional, with lots of depth. I also liked how it gradually built, and how it was put into a modern setting, which was also handled perfectly (though some other transitions to the modern setting in the film didn't work as well).
It was advertised for a while prior to the release of this film that Jean Grey would appear in it, with Famke Janssen reprising her role from the other three X-Men films. Now after hearing this I was wondering how it'd happen, or work for that matter, due to her dying in X-Men: The Last Stand, and this taking place after. I did however come to one conclusion prior to seeing this film, and it turned out to be correct. If you want no spoilers at all skip this paragraph, otherwise stay (it's not a big spoiler). It turned out that Jean was never actually there, and only in Wolverine's head, being a sign of his guilt. This worked very well in the film, as due to the feelings that Wolverine had for Jean, as well as the fact that he was the one that killed her would lead to him having guilt over her death, and what better way of showing that than to have her haunting his sleep (it also gives Janseen a nice paycheck as well).
The main villain in this film would be Viper, better known to most comic book fans as Madame Hydra. Now for starters I don't know why this character is in this film to start of with, as I would have thought that Marvel would have still had the rights to her, even though this film has made her a mutant. That was another thing that I didn't like about the character in this film, as she was so different as to how she was in the comics, which was very disappointing (though not as bad as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). I also didn't like how she was portrayed as Khodchenkova acted more like a spoiled mutant, wanting what she wants, opposed to the strong leader of HYDRA that she is in the comics. I did however find it interesting how they made her similar to a snake, even though it was way off character.
The Silver Samurai would also feature in this film, being a giant armour made out of Adamantium. Now although this film features the character Kenuichio Harada, who is known as the Silver Samurai, he isn't actually the Silver Samurai. Now this slightly disappointed me, and although I easily forgot about it to enjoy the film, it was still annoying. The Samurai itself was however amazing, and brilliantly designed. I also liked how it gave Wolverine a very exciting match, contributing to an amazing fight scene. There was also a slight mystery to the Samurai, and although I won't mention what it is, as to avoid spoilers, I will say that I kind of suspected what it was at certain points of the film.
There was also some other great action scenes, including a phenomenal scene with Wolverine fighting Yakuza on a bullet train, as well as other scenes that would see him against samurai warriors, more Yakuza, and even ninjas, making for some of the best action scenes in any of the X-Men films.
This film would also have a mid-credit scene at the end, and although I won't go into details as to avoid spoilers, I will say my thoughts on it. It was a very interesting scene, leaving me with even more questions than I already have. I also thought that I'd mention the scene so you don't walk out of the cinema and miss it.
Although this wasn't quite as good as I hoped, it was much better than the last Wolverine feature film, as well as X-Men: The Last Stand, being a very entertaining film. It also had some of the best action that I've seen in an X-Men film, with very explosive, and at times humorous scenes. It was however slightly slow at times, and the villain Viper wasn't portrayed well. Besides this I'd still recommending giving this film a go, as although you may not enjoy it as much as I have, I'd be surprised if you liked it less that X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or X-Men: The Last Stand.