DVD & Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Wolverine’

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From the original theatrical review:

For the first hour and change, The Wolverine is a slowly paced character study about a man who has lost his place in the world, a man stricken by grief and regret, a man searching for peace. Jackman’s somber, brooding performance is his best embodiment of the character yet, and he pours tremendous emotion into the role, particularly during scenes featuring his former love.

Regrettably, during the last thirty minutes or so we’ve given a painful reminder that this is still a studio film, and the studio still requires their comic book movies to have plenty of unnecessary plot twists, stilted dialogue, and effects-laden action sequences. The climactic fight feels like it belongs in a different film altogether, and Jackman’s growls and grimaces as he squares off against a laughable iteration of a classic comic book villain aren’t enough to keep us invested in the onscreen events.

The Wolverine is a good film – not a great film, but a good film, and worth the price of admission for the first two acts alone. Director James Mangold brings a new layer of humanity to the flawed antihero and makes a valiant effort to erase the horrible memory of Wolverine’s previous solo adventure, but ultimately falls a bit short of the goal line.

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The Wolverine was already a great-looking film, but it’s absolutely jaw-dropping on Blu-ray. Every level of detail is meticulously rendered, and Jackman’s physique has never looked more imposing or impressive. Some detail is lost during the film’s darker scenes (of which there are many), but this is a minor complaint. The audio is also top-notch, featuring an impressive 7.1 mix that will give any surround system a solid workout.

The bonus features are pretty bland, with the exception of The Path of a Ronin, a five-part featurette that explores the making of the film. It includes the requisite interviews with the cast and filmmakers, as well as a look at the beloved comic book story that influenced the film, and the usual behind-the-scenes filler material. Sadly missing from this release is a commentary from director James Mangold, which is only available on The Wolverine Unleashed extended Blu-ray.

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If you missed The Wolverine during its theatrical run, its definitely worth a look at home, and despite its shortcomings is still a much better film that the character’s previous solo adventure. But if you’re planning to add it to your collection, spend the extra few dollars for the extended cut, as the extra footage and the commentary are well worth the price.

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