Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine has always been one of the most enjoyable elements of the X-Men film series, but recent movies have failed to match the quality of the actor’s own efforts. Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand was a dumber, shallower adventure than Bryan Singer’s first two entries, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine drowned the character in a pedantic story and a barrage of bad visual effects. Now, with Wolverine’s headlining efforts in need of a reboot, comes James Mangold’s The Wolverine.

The difference in approach is apparent straight from the title itself. A streamlined, introspective take on the emotional perils of immortality, it’s a superhero film that’s not afraid to see itself as more of a noir-infused character piece than an action set-piece generator. It’s a welcome approach, and the film sings at first as it’s able to deliver on both fronts — but The Wolverine is ultimately unable to balance the two elements, collapsing upon itself in a heap of comic-book absurdity.