‘The Wolverine’ missing the depth and exhilaration of previous films

Hugh Jackman in ‘The Wolverine.’ Rated PG-13, 126 min. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 2013.

“The Wolverine” – while still featuring Hugh Jackman’s trademark salty roughness as the titular mutant – feels somehow separate from the rest of the “X-Men” films, largely because it is the least personal of the character’s adventures so far. Some time after the events of the third “X-Men” film, Logan (Jackman) is called to Tokyo to say goodbye to a Japanese man he saved at Hiroshima. The man’s health, family and business become the focus of the film, which gets entangled in too many double-crosses and close saves to have much clarity.

Still, Wolverine does have some fighting showcases – why set the movie in Japan if you can’t have Wolverine face off against ninjas and samurai? Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima each have tremendous screen presence, but neither helps develop the tiring title character. Plus, the addition of Viper is one villain too many.

It’s not as one-note as “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and not as disappointing as “X-Men: The Last Stand,” but doesn’t hit the heights of “X2” or “X-Men: First Class.” Stay after the credits for a promising teaser setting up next year’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

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