The Wolverine takes place after the events of X-Men 3 and sees Wolverine caught up in a kidnapping attempt in Japan. This film has scaled back the involvement of the other mutants in the X-Men series and focused on a stand-alone story for Wolverine himself, which I thought was a good move.
I found the story to be really strong, with both plot and character arc. The opening scene in Nagasaki not only fits the tradition of setting X-Men events concurrently with historical events, but also has great import for the rest of the film. Then we get into the Yakuzi/Yashimo plot which is interesting and easy to sink into. I liked that the setting of Japan was explored well and used to the film’s advantage.
Wolverine introduces some new and interesting characters, most notably Yukia, Logan’s “bodyguard”, and Mariko as the girl he must protect. Both of these actresses have little acting experience according to imdb, but they both did a great job at creating characters that are easy to like. The villain, Viper (though I thought she was Silver Sable at first), is pretty lame as a villain however, and quite unnecessary. I feel like she was just there to shoehorn in another mutant and wasn’t really needed.
One thing that I really liked about this movie is that the action scenes were rather inventive. There is a scene on a bullet train which is outright fantastic and literally had me fist-pumping the theater. There’s also some neat stuff involving arrows near the end as well. The biggest knock against this film is probably that it simply goes on for too long. The final fight scene particularly. Its one of these fights were there are 2 or 3 fights going on at the same time, and the villain is never quite finished off when you think they are and keep coming back. I find those kinds of climaxes to drag quite a bit.
Overall I have to say that I was very impressed with this new Wolverine flick. It finds a great tone for the character, has some really good action, and has a story that was fun to follow along with. It also has a great stinger during the credits, so be sure to wait around a few extra minutes.