- The Washington Times - Friday, December 27, 2013

Marvel Comics‘ favorite feral mutant returned to screens this year in another live-action blockbuster movie.

Now available in the Blu-ray format, The Wolverine: Unleashed Extended Edition (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, $49.99) arrives in a slightly longer cut, packed with extras, and enough comic book moments to warm the hearts of any X-Men sequential-art fan in the family.

Although, this dynamic film is supposedly adapted from writer Chris Claremont and artist Frank Miller’s limited comic book series, appropriately titled Wolverine, from 1982, let’s interject the word “loosely” here.

Oh sure, the skeletal remains of the comic story still exist as Wolverine first hides out in Canada and then ends up in Japan, protecting and falling in love with the granddaughter of an ailing corporate magnate.

He also encounters a familiar enemy and gets a lesson in mortality as his normally regenerative body inexplicably has a problem healing.

The result? Director James Mangold delivers a perfect blend of mutant exposition, emotional character development and all-out action.

Most importantly, it’s hard to care too much about any missed minutiae of Mr. Claremont’s original story with actor Hugh Jackman returning as the definitive Wolverine.

Don’t despair my geeky brethren, we still get the introduction of Marvel Comics legends such as Silver Samurai (now a human exoskeleton), Wolvie’s love interest Mariko Yashida, the Ronin assassin Yukio, poison-spitting mutant Viper and plenty of loving moments with Jean Grey (the mutant Wolverine killed in “X-Men: The Last Stand” to save the world, remember?).

I’ll admit, It’s still frustrating to not see an “R”-rated Wolverine movie as this hero could do some serious damage mixing his insane temper with those adamantium-covered claws.

Viewers do get to see Wolverine wreak death and destruction upon many a Ninja, but nothing too gratuitous as compared to other movies these days. They also get some fantastic action sequences.

For example, a fight scene atop one of Japan’s speeding bullet trains literally had me grabbing the edge of my chair.

Now, perhaps one of the best nerdy moments occurs in an extra special scene plopped into the middle of the credits (I won’t spoil it) and is a welcomed foreshadowing of the upcoming 2014 mutant film “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Overall, The Wolverine: Unleashed Extended Edition is a spectacular addition to a Blu-ray collection and has restored my faith in the X-Men movie franchise.

Best Extra: For the digitally savvy fan in the family, The Wolverine Blu-ray offers a great extra called the Second Screen.

This app for mobile devices (requiring WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity) allows viewers to watch the movie on their television and look at their handheld to explore 375 pieces of extra information tied to the movie’s production that syncs to the onscreen action.

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