So, just got back from the midnight showing tonight. I definitely enjoyed it, a big, BIG improvement over Origins. However, there were some rather gaping plot holes I thought, that ultimately held the film back from being great. As it stands, I'd put it in ranking of a film a bit better then Captain America, and not quite as good as Iron Man 1.
Before I get into this, I want to preface it by saying that the original Claremont four issue mini is my all time favorite Wolverine story. It's what made me love Wolverine as a character, and not only that, but is also the single story arc that elevated Wolverine's character as a whole. So even though I tried to keep my expectations tempered, I still had some definite expectations for this movie.
The original story's theme is the theme that has come to define Wolverine's character after decades (and sadly, is the one theme that has yet to be portrayed well in any of his films). It highlights Logan's struggle between his animal side, and his desire to be an honorable warrior. Everything in the original story highlights that struggle, right down to Wolverine's love interests. Mariko represents the order,tructure, and peace Wolverine wishes he could achieve, Yukio represents his wild unrestrained nature.
Given that, I was disappointed that this film didn't address this issue at all. But I knew this was an adaptation going in. So I did my best to judge this film solely on it's merits.
Overall, the film does a much better job examining Logan as a character. It was nice to really have it play with his struggle with immortality, something that had been only touched on briefly. The actors in this all handle themselves very well. Jackman brings his A-game to this, getting the closest to Wolverine's true character we've seen since X1/X2. Yukio and Mariko are both enjoyable (and very natural), and Shingen solid job as the unbalanced and vengeful power-hungry villain. The fight sequences are by far the best we've seen Logan involved in. That was something I was very glad to see. Until now, it seemed that no-one quite understood how to portray Wolverine in a proper action sequence. The closest we had gotten until now was the Wolverine vs. the soldiers in X2, but the fights in this movie finally have the intensity and ferocity that Wolverine needs. The film is also shot beautifully, and the cinematography really was a joy to watch at times.
Now...the more unfavorable parts. As many have said, the actress playing Viper just doesn't seem to fit, for a few reasons. First, she played her part like she was in a different film, and secondly, her character was completely unneeded. I'm not being dramatic with this comment either, quite literally everything her character does could have been accomplished without including her. She only took time away from the other characters, and the film suffers from it.
The biggest flaw though, is that the big twist at the end of the film (which isn't all that hard to guess)...is really completely and totally non-nonsensical. Not nonsensical in the sense that it didn't make sense given character motivations, but nonsensical because there was literally no reason to do it.
Once the twist is revealed, the rest of the plot basically unravels, which is a shame. And that's the biggest flaw, if you're going to do a Noir, the mystery has to make sense, otherwise the audience won't go along with it.
The good news is that the acting and the action are good enough that we can forgive the half-thought out plot. So, is this the perfect Wolverine movie? No, it's not. But it's definitely a step in the right direction.