The Wolverine: Unleashed Extended Edition

The Wolverine is the second full-length film starring Wolverine as the lead protagonist. Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Wolverine for technically the sixth time; the first five times being the three X-Men movies, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and his small cameo in X-Men: First Class.

{Spoiler Alert! This article contains major plot themes and potential spoilers}

Evolution of The Wolverine

When compared to X-Men Origins, this movie handily meets and exceeds expectations. Hugh Jackman does the character justice as usual, but with director James Mangold at the helm, Jackman gets the opportunity to utilize the uniqueness of Wolverine’s character. Mangold does a great job of putting the humanity of the characters on display, particularly the trials and tribulations that Wolverine has to go through.

A number of cosmetic changes were made in the attempt to make Wolverine’s character more realistic, giving us the opportunity to easily lose ourselves in this make believe world. For example, Wolverine’s hair has been toned down. “I didn’t want Wolverine to look like Flock of Seagulls,” says Mangold. In regards to Wolverine’s claws, he mentions, “I felt like the claws looked fake, frankly, in some other shots and movies.” It’s also worth noting in this movie that Jackman doesn’t don any particular superhero outfit. The combination of all these elements allows the viewer to pay more attention to Wolverine the character instead of Wolverine the superhero.

Not Your Typical Superhero Movie

The strength of this film comes from its strong themes of death and mortality, or in Wolverine’s case, immortality. As Mangold describes,

you have Logan, an immortal, who wishes he could die but can’t. You have Mariko, a mortal, who wishes she could die but can’t. You have her grandfather who is at the edge of death and doesn’t want to die, and wants what Logan doesn’t want, which is immortality. And you have a character like Yukio, who can see death; can see death around corners. And then you have Jean Grey, who is actually dead.

I found myself rooting for each character for different reasons. Bad guys weren’t truly bad guys, but rather they were motivated by what they considered were their individual greatest good.

Mangold goes on to show how Wolverine is particularly different from your typical superhero. “Logan is a wonderful character in that he’s always struggling.” Wolverine has “the curse of immortality; people who want to get at him kill the people he loves” and that “anyone he cares for, dies.” Once you start to recognize and notice that all these elements are embedded deeply into the film, it suddenly becomes more than just another superhero action movie.

Final Thoughts

Action scenes in The Wolverine roar with typical loud and explosive fanfare, yet nothing is too over the top as far as superhero movies go. Mangold put a strong emphasis on keeping The Wolverine within the realm of possibility.

He doesn’t have frog legs. He shouldn’t be able to jump that high. He has tremendous strength, but should still be bound by physics. If they aren’t bound by physics, it turns into a video-game watching characters flip any which way.

I love the way Mangold took care of this film and the Wolverine intellectual property. The movie is not going to win any academy awards, but it keeps the bar high for future superhero movies and the entire Wolverine franchise.

Unleashed Extended Edition

THE WOLVERINE Unleashed Extended Edition Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD hits shelves on Dec. 3, 2013 with added features:

  • The Extended, Unrated Cut – the first for the X-Men franchise!
  • THE WOLVERINE Unleashed – more violent and hardcore than ever before
  • The Path of the Ronin – an immersive feature following the journey of a hero
  • Alternate Ending
  • Audio Commentary by Director James Mangold
  • Sync with The Wolverine Second Screen App for an interactive Second Screen
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past Set Tour
  • Without a past experience

Images

Images courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

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