Last night, I saw The Wolverine at the AMC Burbank 16 ETX theater, which has a Dolby Atmos sound system. I normally wouldn't have made much of an effort to see this movie, but I really enjoy Atmos soundtracks, so I went on the venue's weekly discount night.
Of course, I had my custom-molded earplugs with me, expecting a real blowout, but I ended up taking them out for two reasons—I couldn't make out the quiet dialog, and the Atmos soundtrack was much more effective without them. I put my fingers in my ears during the loud parts, but the volume was certainly not the highest I've measured. The average level over the entire 2-hour, 22-minute duration (including trailers) was 84.7 dBA (86.4 dBA during the trailers only), with the highest 1-minute maximum at 97.2 dBA. The level remained over 89.9 dBA 10 percent of the time, 82.5 dBA 33 percent of the time, and 77.0 dBA 50 percent of the time. The dosage was only 8.84 percent of the daily maximum as defined by OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
As expected, the Atmos soundtrack is wonderful, especially the gentle rainfall from above and the wild fight scenes with arrows and debris flying all around the theater. Another very effective Atmos sequence is when Logan fights a Yakuza thug on top of a speeding Shinkansen (bullet train) in Tokyo.
I thought the 3D post-production conversion by StereoD was excellent. For the most part, it did not call attention to itself, subtly enhancing the sense of depth and perfectly complementing the immersive soundtrack. There were a few shots in which the 3D was more obvious—for example, when Logan is in a deep pit—but I was not distracted by them.
NOTE: THERE'S NOT MUCH IN THE WAY OF SPOILERS HERE, BUT SKIP THE REST IF YOU WANT TO KNOW NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT THE MOVIE BEFORE SEEING IT
As for the movie itself, it starts with a flashback to 1945, followed by a dream sequence with Famke Janssen as Jean Grey (recall that Logan killed her in X-Men: Last Stand). It then jumps to the present, with Logan (Hugh Jackman) living a nomadic, homeless life in the Yukon wilderness. But most of the action takes place in Japan, and Logan's "bodyguard" Yukio (Rila Fukushima) has a distinct cosplay look. The mutant Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) is delightfully evil and seemingly indestructible.
The visuals are stunning, from the super-cool biobed supporting the dying Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi) to the giant adamantium Samurai robot. (Hey, it's a movie based on a comic book!) The one thing that struck me as quite fake-looking was the bear that Logan encounters in the woods of the Yukon. At first, I thought it was bad CGI, but the credits included people involved with an animatronic bear, so that must have been why it looked so fake.
Overall, The Wolverine is a fun romp—nothing terribly special, but a nice diversion. If there's a Dolby Atmos theater near you, I definitely recommend seeing it there. Oh, and be sure to stay through the credits; there's a nice teaser for the next X-Men movie part way through.