In the view of Variety‘s Peter Debruge, James Mangold‘s The Wolverine (which I’ll be seeing today at 3 pm) is “an entertaining and surprisingly existential digression from [the] usual X-Men exploits” of the buffed-up, mutton-chopped, “adamantium-reinforced” superhero.

“Though Wolvie comes across a bit world-weary and battle-worn by now, Hugh Jackman is in top form, taking the opportunity to test the character’s physical and emotional extremes. Fans might’ve preferred bigger action or more effects, but Mangold does them one better, recovering the soul of a character whose immortality made him tiresome.

A key reason, says Debruge, is that The Wolverine “boasts one of the best pulp-inspired scripts yet.” (The authors are Mark Bomback and Scott Frank.) “It’s still full of corny dialogue (you know, those punchy one-liners conceived to fit in tiny talk bubbles above the characters’ heads), 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.”