You wouldn’t think The Wolverine needs to be nearly three hours long; as we noted, the “Unleashed Extended Edition” is nearly that length, although later that was trimmed to twelve minutes of extra footage. But oddly, this turns out to be for the better. Much better.
The problems are still there; the third act is still goofy as all hell. But this is a much, much better cut of the movie, for three reasons.
It’s Better Developed
The theatrical cut did a solid job of sketching in its characters, but this cut offers a lot more depth to pretty much everybody involved. Most of the cast gets a character moment that makes what they do and why they do it a bit more complex, and it makes the movie a lot richer. Mariko and Yukio make much more sense as characters, and Mariko in particular gets to kick some more ass; why a Yakuza fight this cut restores was removed is baffling.
It’s A Hard R. As In, Very Hard.
I actually held off on writing this when the cut was released digitally because I couldn’t quite believe that they were actually going to put this cut on a disc. “They’re not really going to put Yukio attacking ninjas with a snowblower out on a disc. That’s not going to happen.”
But yes, the ninja fight the trailer hinted at is here and it’s complete with ninjas going up against a snowblower and losing. It’s also not surprising it got cut, because it’s practically a splatter movie in some sections. In general, the movie is more gory, although most of that is CGI, and Logan takes more hits.
Hugh Jackman Gets To Act
Hugh Jackman, for all the Huge Jacked Man jokes, is a highly capable actor, and this cut really emphasizes that James Mangold wanted to let the man do some acting. This goes from a good performance from Jackman to possibly his best as Wolverine. Oh, and he gets to swear more, which helps.
In short, it’s an oddly much tighter and more dynamic cut. If you can’t get it from iTunes, pick it up on Blu-Ray; it’s gone from a solid superhero movie to a contender for the best one of the year.