Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine.

I’m not a hater of 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine; it was fun, albeit stupid fun. Still, many despised it, and this is a new attempt to create a film franchise around Hugh Jackman’s Logan.

Director James Mangold takes this film in a darker, more-serious direction, but he proves quite adept at creating an action scene. (The opening scene in Nagasaki, and a fight above a bullet train, are both incredible.)

Jackman, who has a lot more veins popping than he did the last time we saw him, again has a blast in the title role. The plot involves an old friend of Wolverine looking for the key to eternal life, which Wolverine actually has—so this makes him a mutant with extra purpose. Most of the action takes place in Japan; Wolverine loses his powers for a stretch, so we get the odd sight of him bleeding and getting lethargic.

Mangold and his crew also get credit for bringing to film two of the year’s most beautiful women: Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima. Good lord, these two are remarkable-looking.

Famke Janssen makes some dream appearances as Jean Grey—and be sure to stay through the credits to see what some might consider the film’s best scene.

The Wolverine is playing at theaters across the valley.