Hugh Jackman channels the Adamantium rage once again, as the mutant anti-hero travels to Japan to battle deadly samurai, the ghosts of his past, and his inner demons.
Not everyone is well-versed in their Marvel Comics lore or the annals of the X-Men movie universe, so Digital Spy has taken the liberty of bringing you everything you need to know about The Wolverine.
Premise and source material
Directed by James Mangold, The Wolverine takes place sometime after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, but tells a standalone story that isn't necessarily reliant on prior knowledge of the movie series.
Century-old mutant Logan is lured to Japan for the first time since he fought in World War II, and becomes caught up in a shadowy world of Yakuza and samurai.
The movie is based on writer Chris Claremont and illustrator Frank Miller's 1982 Wolverine limited series, which is widely regarded as one of the character's finest outings.
The four-issue arc is a story of love, honour and betrayal that sees the protagonist stripped of his immortality, showing a more vulnerable Logan than fans are traditionally accustomed to.
Jackman has confessed that he is a big admirer of Claremont and Miller's seminal work, and is understood to have been instrumental in bringing it to screen.
Work on the film's screenplay began in 2009 when Christopher McQuarrie was brought in to adapt the 1982 miniseries. Subsequent rewrites were handled by Scott Frank and Mark Bomback.
Darren Aronofsky was originally attached to direct The Wolverine before bowing out of the project to spend time with his family. The final script is said to be very similar to the version the Black Swan filmmaker would have brought to screen.
Cast of characters
The Wolverine marks Jackman's sixth outing as Logan, and he is set to reprise the role for a seventh time in the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is also based on a Claremont-penned comic series.
He is the illegitimate father of Keniuchio Harada - a mutant better known as Silver Samurai - as well as Logan's love interest, Mariko.
Created by Claremont and artist John Byrne, Mariko is torn between her love for Wolverine and her duty to her corrupt father, who marries her off to a criminal associate to pay off his debts, a move which Logan is none too happy about.
Making his comic book debut in a 1974 issue of Daredevil, the character sports a traditional-style samurai suit made or pure silver and has the ability to charge his katana blade with tachyon energy, making it capable of cutting through anything… apart from Adamantium.
Also known as Madame Hydra, the antagonist is traditionally a foe of Captain America, although this aspect of her history will certainly not be explored due to rights issues.
The telekinetic mutant is central to Logan's journey in the story, with his connection to her serving as an important motivation for the on-screen version of the character we saw fleshed out in the X-Men trilogy.
What the critics are saying
The Wolverine has received somewhat mixed reviews in the press so far, with most critics declaring that it is a significant improvement on Logan's last solo outing, but pointing out that this is hardly a ringing endorsement.
Digital Spy's movies editor Simon Reynolds described the film as an "interesting if flawed exploration of the X-Men universe's favourite son", expressing disappointment that it didn't delve deeper into the samurai culture that inspired it.
"Jackman and Mangold have strived to fashion a character-driven, definitive take on Wolverine," he wrote.
"Pulling him away from familiar X-Men colleagues and anchoring the action in Japan certainly gives this a totally different feel to pretty much any other superhero film - it owes more to cinema's samurai epics than it does the modern-day blockbuster.
"Ironically, this is both The Wolverine's biggest strength and its undoing. While it only skims the surface of the culture it's enshrouded in, this is the element that gives the film a distinct flavour and sets it apart from the endless wave of pixel-driven multiplex-fillers."
Variety's Peter Debruge penned one of the more positive reviews of the film, hailing its screenplay and Jackman's portrayal of the title character.
"The Wolverine boasts one of the best pulp-inspired scripts yet. It's still full of corny dialogue... but there's a genuine elegance to the way it establishes Logan's tortured condition and slowly brings the character around to recovering his heroic potential, methodically setting up and paying off ideas as it unfolds," he said.
The Guardian's Henry Barnes was highly critical of the movie, claiming it pales in comparison to Matthew Vaughan's X-Men: First Class, due to a convoluted backstory coupled with "flat" and "dull" action sequences.
"The flat hammerblows of The Wolverine bear little relation to the zing and pop of Matthew Vaughn's colourful treatment.
"Inconsistency is inevitable in a world that's constantly being dug up and done over, but it leaves us no time to fall in love with anything being flung at us. Heroes wander in, heroes wander out. Wolverine - the indestructible centrepiece of the buffet's spread - isn't waning, but our interest is.
"Here a superhero strives to be ordinary. As Marvel continues to claw the character's mystique away, he's starting to get his wish."
The Wolverine is released in the UK on July 25 and in the US on July 26.