"Hugh Jackman returns as The Wolverine and faces his ultimate nemesis in an action-packed life-or-death battle that takes him to modern-day Japan. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his limits, Logan confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality; an epic fight that will leave him forever changed." That's the official plot for director James Mangold's The Wolverine, now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital.
Of course, that description is a bit vague when it comes to what specifically happens in this continuation of the X-Men series of movies. In The Wolverine we are treated to another part of Logan's backstory, although this story actually takes place after the third X-Men movie X-Men: The Last Stand. Devastated by the loss of Jean and his role in her demise, Logan has secluded himself from humanity and now lives alone in the woods. His days of being a hero are over, or so he thinks. A friend from his past wants to see him one last time as a dying wish, so Logan goes to Japan and here is where he meets his future love Mariko. The Wolverine describes the part of Logan's backstory of how he meets and falls in love with Mariko and how this encounter changes his future. There's plenty of fighting and action, but it's great to have a good story to piece it all together and The Wolverine doesn’t disappoint.
Regarding the technical specs, The Wolverine provides the usual 1080p in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio and visuals provide a great looking picture. Mangold uses the Blu-ray resolution to provide some great scenery of Japan as well as very detailed action scenes. For audio, the disc provides English DTS-HD MA 7.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and French Dolby Digital 5.1. The voice work is excellent with the entire film's dialogue being clear and understandable. The foley and soundtrack do a great job of pulling you into the picture and keeping you on your toes during the action scenes.
Since I reviewed the regular Blu-ray, DVD, Digital combo pack, I do not know what additional extras are provided on the 3D Extended Edition, but on this disc we get all of the following bonus features in HD:
* The Wolverine Second Screen App – download the free app to access all kinds of extra, behind-the-scenes content including art, storyboards, VFX sequences, etc.
* Alternate Ending (1:36 min.) – Those who know the X-Men comics will get a kick out of this piece of extra footage. That's all I'm going to say because I don't want to spoil it for the fans.
* X-Men: Days of Future Past Set Tour (2:47 min.) – Yes, the next X-Men movie is already in the works and Bryan Singer gives us a brief look at some of the sets in the upcoming film.
* The Path of a Ronin (53:44 min.) – this is an almost hour-long featurette that provides a wide selection of behind-the-scenes content as well as a walk thorough the story-line with references to its comic book counterpart. This bonus can be played all the way through or via selecting any of the following chapters:
- Inspiration: A Ronin's Journey
- Design: Mastering the Arc
- Execution: A Killer Team
- Hugh Jackman: The Man Behind the Mutant
- Reflections: The Evolution of Wolverine
While many fans were disappointed with X-Men: The Last Stand, you'll be happy to know that the X-Men franchise is back on track. X-Men: First Class brought a new start to the movie series and The Wolverine adds some excellent backstory to Logan's very long life. It also segues very well into the upcoming sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will hopefully ignite another new trilogy. In the meantime, X-Men fans and Wolverine fans in particular will definitely enjoy The Wolverine.
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