Does everyone have a bowl? Yes, you have to bring your own; I just don't have enough. And a spoon, too. No chopsticks, because we don't want to leave them standing upright in our pop culture, right? It's bad luck. Evidently. Anyway, get your bowls and your spoons, and pour yourself a heaping bowl of pop culture. But no milk; Wolvie doesn't like it.
I wanted very badly to not want to go see The Wolverine in the theater. Why pay for another movie I was just going to be disappointed in, right? I mean, this year has been particularly good for disappointing movies. And that doesn't even take into account the other Wolverine movie, one of the worst super hero movies made so far (and all because of the ending). [It's amazing how a botched ending can ruin an otherwise decent movie.] But Wolverine has been in my top three favorite heroes since... oh, well, a long time, and Hugh Jackman just nails that role, so I couldn't convince myself to wait. I'm actually glad that I didn't; some times, it's good to go into something with, basically, no expectations.
As it turned out, The Wolverine was much better than I expected it to be, and I actually enjoyed most of it. It has its issues, but, at least, they weren't really bad story-telling issues. The story, amazingly enough, was pretty solid and managed to not go off the cliff that the origin movie did. Of course, the story is only "pretty solid" if you look at it within the context of the X-Men movies. This movie has nothing to do with the comics other than that they pull some familiar characters from the Wolverine mythos to use in the movie. If you were hoping for anything resembling an adaptation of the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont Wolverine mini-series from the early '80s, you're not going to find that here. Okay, you'll get something vaguely resembling it. Very vaguely. He does fight some Hand ninjas. Except their not called that. So we're back to that "vaguely" again.
The thing to know about The Wolverine is that it's not about what it's about it. Within the context of the X-Men movies, the story is here to bridge the gap between X-Men: The Last Stand and the forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past and deal with the ramifications of how Last Stand ended. Basically, it's to get Logan to let go of the death of Jean and his part in it. With that goal in mind, The Wolverine actually accomplished its purpose and in a way that made sense. The micro-plot of just this one movie wasn't too bad either, even if it did have more than its share of "what the heck?" moments.
The biggest issue with the movie is the sleight-of-hand they play with Logan's healing power. The dying old guy wants Logan's ability, and the best the writers could come up with is that the old dude is going to "steal" it. Not duplicate it, steal it. Which sounds like they're going to do some kind of thing like when Rogue absorbs other mutants' powers, but, no, the old guy is just going to drill into Logan's bone marrow and transfer the power to himself, which doesn't make any sense, but I'll give it a pass on the handwavium principle. Except that they also "suppress" his healing power using a little "Matrix" bug that gets on Wolvie's heart, and they don't explain that, either, especially after making it seem as if this is some other mutant thing before we find out it's a device. Really, you can only get a pass on one of these things in the movie. The deal with the tiny robot is that they want Wolverine to rip his own heart out to get rid of the thing, so I can see that they're going for the "cool factor" with that, but, then, they don't show it, so they lose out on that, anyway. And it leaves all kinds of questions: does the little robot bug suppress all mutant abilities or just Logan's? Or just Logan's healing factor? It's hard to tell, because he really doesn't use any of his heightened senses in the movie at all, so we don't know if he still has those or not. Of course, there's also the argument that Logan's healing power should have just expelled the little robot bug to begin with, but the movie Wolverine isn't quite as powerful as the comic book Wolverine.
And neither is adamantium, evidently, because we again have a "bullet piercing adamantium" situation in that the old guy cuts off Wolverine's claws to get at his bone marrow. It's slightly more believable than the bullet being fired into Logan's head but not by much.
At any rate, those things are just issues with story points not the story itself, and we have to deal with those all the time. Like people surviving explosions by jumping into water or standing behind a wall or whatever. So, whereas there are some... stupid? silly? okay, stupid... things within the story, the plot of The Wolverine holds up both on the level of there being a villain intent upon stealing Logan's healing powers and as a vehicle for Logan to get over have killed Jean.
Having said all of that, The Wolverine is not a movie you have to see in the theater. It's not like Pacific Rim or Man of Steel (although I think it's a better movie than both of those) that really need to be seen on the big screen to get the full effect of the scope of the action. You can just as easily wait for the DVD for this one, and, honestly, I doubt there's anything necessary in this movie for the overall X-Men story line. If you like Wolverine, it's probably worth seeing it, but you're not going to feel like you missed anything if you give this one a pass on the way to Days of Future Past.