Eppler: 'Wolverine' revives series on life support

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 7/29/2013 10:18 am

On Twitter: @JamesEppler

Wolverine has the ability to regenerate from even the most grievous of wounds - but the last Wolverine movie was so insufferable it was nearly a death blow for the character.
Fortunately, he's back, and good as ever.

Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine six times on screen now, and in this new movie he gives his best performance yet as the clawed crusader - mainly because he's working with better material.

Tortured by the death of his love Jeane Gray, we catch up with the man we know as Logan isolated and wandering with only his nightmares to keep him company. Soon, he's whisked away to Japan at the beckoning of an old acquaintance on his death bed.

He winds up stripped of his healing powers while working to protect his friend's granddaughter, Tao Okamoto. She gives him a reason to fight again, and while there is plenty of fighting in the movie, the focus is more on an inner struggle for Logan - which is far more compelling. It's safe to say comic book movies are the new westerns, and "The Wolverine" plays like one.

Director James Mangold stages some terrific action sequences, none more thrilling than a battle atop a bullet train.

The final quarter of the movie is pretty standard predictable comic book movie stuff, including a fight with a metal samurai that looks like he belongs in an "Iron Man" movie

Jackman is fierce and dryly funny, and unlike many comic book movies, there are some very strong, admirable female characters.

"The Wolverine" has successfully revived a series that was on life support. And stick around through the end credits for an idea of where things are headed. 

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2

Out of five stars

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