The Wolverine is out in theaters and just pulled in over $141 million in its worldwide opening weekend (sans a few markets like China and Japan). After a lackluster—to put it kindly—previous solo outing for the X-Man known as Wolverine, the expected draw for the film's opening fell short about $10-ish million in box office sales compared to projections. It also fell short $30 million against the previous solo movie's opening weekend. Ouch.
Let's be honest here for a moment and realize to go and see another Wolverine solo movie, after X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is a tough pill for many Marvel fans to swallow. The previous movie was so bad many fans might have decided to stay at home and wait for word-of-mouth for The Wolverine. Or perhaps didn't want to see the new movie at all until it is $1 at your local Red Box rental machine.
Either way, those who did not go and see The Wolverine should reconsider because this movie is less a movie about Wolverine and more a movie about Logan. It even feels like it is not your traditional superhero movie and James Mangold's auteur theory in the film is definitely felt.
This is a character driven mystery genre film more than it's a superhero, action or even science fiction genre movie because the character of Logan is the focal point throughout the entire film. In the past, it's always been about Wolverine and not really about Logan. Maybe there's been some parts of past X-Men movies that have dealt with the Logan side of the character, here and there, but nothing like in The Wolverine. This is Logan's story of struggle and a lack of having a will to live any longer... of course this changes by the end.
His feelings about Jean Grey are still present and haunt him throughout the entire film. His feelings about having a mutant power that pretty much makes him an immortal while everyone around him will die before he does is very much present as well. Logan's immortality is just as much a villain in the movie as it is a driving force of the fun and entertaining action scenes.
There are some funny one-liners thrown in to lighten up the movie along the way. One particular scene is a very funny "bath scene" that will have you laughing out loud for a minute or two.
In the end, there are a few twists and turns that may catch you off guard but this movie does have its faults (as all movies have since we are all nitpickers). There really are no moments of true, iconic Wolverine berserker rage even though a Fox executive (who, matter of fact, might not be with Fox anymore) promised berserker rage about a year ago. There's also a bit of an issue with Viper, who was integral in various plot points but the acting part was sorely lacking and very dry at times.
And don't forget to make sure you stay until the mid-credits scene because it is easily the best part of the entire film. Which is kind of sad because it was not really a part of the film and was filmed after principle photography wrapped for The Wolverine.
This version of Wolverine does indeed set the hero back on the right path after that debacle of a last film and Fox seems to be building good momentum. X-Men: First Class was a critical and box office hit and now The Wolverine looks to follow suit. This is all leading up to next summer's huge ensemble movie X-Men Days of Future Past and once again, Logan will be heavily featured in a leading role for the next X-Men movie since he is already confirmed to be the mutant time traveler.
[Related Link: Is There an Easter Egg in THE WOLVERINE's End Credits Scene?]
Anyway, go out and do yourself a favor and see The Wolverine in the theater because you'll be surprised with how much the movie is not like your typical superhero or X-Men movie. It has a lot more substance behind the hero instead of it being all about Wolverine screaming and slashing stuff. Yes, there's some of that too but not as much as you'd expect... and that is actually a good thing.