The Wolverine Blu-ray Review

What is the purpose of a movie? Is it to tell a story? To make the audience feel something? To visit strange new worlds and see things like we’ve never seen before? Or is it something simpler (and also far more complex)? Is it simply… to entertain? That may sound like the simplest answer but movies have, over and over, shown us just how difficult it may be to ‘entertain’ the masses. THE WOLVERINE is the newest picture from Marvel Comics film division to reach Blu-ray release and it is a study in both entertainment and disappointment.

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine

THE WOLVERINE is a semi-sequel to both X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009) and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006), both disappointing when compared to the first two X-MEN features. All of the movies have featured Hugh Jackman in the role of Logan (the Wolverine), one of Marvel comics’ most iconic characters. THE WOLVERINE is the continuing story of the ever-healing, possibly immortal Logan, trying to find his way after killing Jean Grey (actually The Phoenix) in the last film. Having given up his life of violence, Logan now lives in the wilderness completely away from humans, wishing for a way to be with Jean once again, wishing for a way to change his life.

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine

When an old acquaintance sends for Logan he initially refuses to leave his self-imposed exile. But Logan is divided; he desperately wants to fit into the world from which he has turned away. The man who sent for him, Master Yashida, is the one person Logan was able to save during the bombing of Japan during the second world war (where Logan was a POW). Yashida sent Yukio, his adopted granddaughter, to find Logan and bring him back to Japan… but Yashida doesn’t just want to thank his savior for his extended years. He offers instead to take Logan’s power, to grant him the ability to absolve himself from possible immortality and the loss and grief that defines THE WOLVERINE, both the character and the film. But though Logan refuses, he soon finds himself without the ability to heal… mortal, how will he protect those around him?

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine trailer

THE WOLVERINE is not a bad movie but it is fraught with disappointment. Once again we are treated to what looks to be an incredible film featuring the talented Jackman in a role he was born to play. Once again we get some great fight scenes, some incredible locales, and some truly amazing special effects. But we are left feeling empty because, despite Jackman’s Herculean efforts, the story just isn’t that compelling. The primary issue, in my opinion, is the relative speed with which we are expected to believe Logan falls in love, or at least lust, with Yashida’s granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto). Their love was central to some of the great storylines of Wolverine’s comic heritage… too important to be given the light and superficial treatment all too familiar from comic-book faire.

Hugh Jackman

You can certainly see why Jackman decided to come back for another round in THE WOLVERINE. The movie has great pedigree and Marvel has been on a hot streak of late, with THE AVENGERS and the whole universe blowing up in a way we haven’t previously seen with comic book movies. But what are comic books if not modern mythology? The universal themes generally introduced and examined by most comics are the reason people are connecting so well with the new era of comic book movies. And all of this makes THE WOLVERINE more disappointing for it’s lack of depth. It’s still a raucous good time… but it is NOT the quality of film for which I was hoping.

THE WOLVERINE BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) An absolutely beautiful presentation for THE WOLVERINE is one of the biggest reasons you should check out this feature. THE WOLVERINE spares nothing in its high definition video and is stunning and immersive.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The audio for THE WOLVERINE is equally impressive, lending further credibility to the argument that comic book movies generally look and sound great and have a fairly soft-ball story. THE WOLVERINE does little to combat this argument.

Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine 7

THE WOLVERINE: Path of a Ronin (53:44) Somewhat disappointingly this is the only REAL special feature on the Blu-ray, but it is absolutely worth a watch. THE WOLVERINE spends a fair amount of time establishing the world in which Logan lives but this special feature goes much deeper, covering special effects to stunts and everything in between. This is the type of feature that makes you like the movie more and more the longer you watch it. Path of a Ronin is presented in the following chapters (or available through a ‘Play All’ function) – Inspiration: A Ronin’s Journey; Design: Mastering the Arc; Execution: A Killer Team; Hugh Jackman: The Man Behind the Mutant; and finally Reflections: The Evolution of Wolverine.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Set Tour (02:47) This is a quick (very quick) interview/walk through a few sets of the new movie made specially for THE WOLVERINE release on Blu-ray. Director Brian Singer (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, X-MEN, and X2: X-MEN UNITED)  walks through the set and gives a brief breakdown of what they’re doing in the new movie, slated for a 2014 release.

Alternate Ending (01:36) An alternative to the end of THE WOLVERINE we saw in theaters, this ending is literally about 5 seconds of new footage… but for any fans of the comics I think you will definitely get a kick out of it.

THE WOLVERINE: Second Screen App The Blu-ray features interactivity and an enhanced movie experience if you watch THE WOLVERINE while also playing an app from iTunes or Google Play. There are some instructions on how to use it on the Blu-ray itself and the Second Screen app, should you choose to sync it with your wifi-enabled Blu-ray player, gives you a good amount of additional information throughout THE WOLVERINE. Highly recommended for any fan.

THE WOLVERINE also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:28) and comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy and an iTunes Digital Copy. While not the most amazing special features package you’ll see from a Marvel Comics production, this is still a Blu-ray worth watching if you’re a fan of Wolverine, of Marvel, or just wanting a fun escape.

OVERALL 3
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