Shrugging off the missteps of the past (specifically, the shoddy "X Men: The Last Stand" from 2006 and the poorly received 2009 movie "X Men Origins: Wolverine," which flopped despite a screenplay co-written by David Benioff and direction by Gavin Hood), the James Mangold-directed "The Wolverine" marks a return to form for everyone’s favorite steel-clawed mutant -- or, perhaps better said, a departure into fairly fresh territory.
Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is lured to Tokyo by a pink-haired punk ninja-ette with precognitive powers (Rila Fukushima); there, he’s embroiled in a three-way struggle for control of a corporate empire, with the Yakuza, a band of stealthy black-clad warriors, and combatants in an internecine family struggle, all clashing over the fate of a lovely young woman named Mariko (Tao Okamoto).
The film relies too heavily on a mysterious McGuffin, but gains spark from wildly kinetic action sequences and Svetlana Khodchenkova in the role of the stylish, venom-spitting Viper. The eventual super-powered smackdown (in a villain’s vast mountainside lair) is only barely worth sitting through the film’s interminable middle section, but overall this is some seriously fun comic-book-cum-cinema entertainment.
This Blu-ray / DVD release offers a wealth of special features, some of them fairly hi-tech. To access the "additional extras," you’ll need to download a "second screen" app. There’s also an access code to allow users access to a "digital infinite comic" using a tablet or other mobile device. The DVD contains no extras, but the Blu-ray disc comes fully loaded with an alternate ending, a tour of the set of the upcoming film "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and a clutch of extras exploring the film, its design, the creative talents behind its execution, its lead actor, and the iconic character that serves as a linchpin for the X-Men franchise, as well as his own movie series (another Wolverine movie is already in the works).
Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack