We're getting ripped to see a ripped Hugh Jackman ripping as the Wolverine.
It's easy to forget that Hugh Jackman has been a superhero way before Robert Downey Jr. even donned the suit as Iron Man. Ever since Jackman extended his Adamantium claws as The Wolverine in Bryan Singer's "X-Men" in 2000, it would be almost criminal to think that the role could have belonged to someone else before it was offered to the Australian hunk.
Now in his sixth appearance as the mutant who is the best at doing not very nice things in the franchise that has spanned for 13 years in "The Wolverine", it looks like there is no stopping this regenerating mutant from shredding more enemies to ribbons in the upcoming "X-Men" cinematic universe, starting with "X-Men: Days of Future Past" in 2014.
But after a poorly received "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" as his last outing that went into telling the origin story of the Wolverine as James Howlett, it is only natural that some would be cautious for "The Wolverine" even though it has been four years.
|The Japanese setting in "The Wolverine" is an interesting mash-up of cultures.
So to temper your expectations, here's a small list of things that you should know before getting your hopes too high or too low when watching "The Wolverine". While some of the things that you are about to read may contain some details about what would be in the movie, we tried our best to make it as spoiler-free as possible. Most of the information that is being divulged here are already evident in the trailers, with some added details from interviews as part of the promotion for "The Wolverine" by its cast and crew.
It takes place after "X-Men: The Last Stand"
While fans might be thinking that "The Wolverine" would be a follow-up to "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" which was a prequel to the first "X-Men" movie, it will be in fact be set after the last movie in the chronology of the franchise. While not strictly a sequel to "X-Men: The Last Stand", the decision to set "The Wolverine" after the final battle between Professor Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood was to allow director James Mangold some breathing space to explore another side of the character following that event.
In an interview, Mangold has said, "I wanted to be able to tell the story without the burden of handing it off to a film that already exists and having to conform to it. The ideas of immortality reign very heavily in this story and the burden of immortality weighs heavily on Logan. For me that's such an interesting part of Logan's character that is nearly impossible to explore if you have a kind of league or team movie."
Hugh Jackman has also confirmed that the death of Jean Grey/Phoenix in that movie is meant to have a huge impact on Logan, who is never seen again for several years until he is found again as seen in the trailers.
"So, it's not that long after "X-Men 3" finishes, long enough so that you see him-and you've probably seen the pictures of me with a really long ass beard and the long hair. Right. So, obviously long enough for that, and long enough to feel that he's settled into this kind of rut that he's in. Essentially, he's doing his best to stop himself from inflicting more damage and pain on everyone around him," Hugh Jackman explains.
It's based on the Japan arc of the limited comic book series
When talks of a new Wolverine movie started 3 years ago, true blue fans of the Marvel comic books may have perked their ears when they heard the words 'Japan' and 'The Wolverine' being mentioned in the same sentence. For the uninitiated, the Japan arc is a well-loved four part tale of Logan's adventures in the land of the rising sun that was chronicled in the first four issues of the limited 'Wolverine' series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller in the 1980s.
In this arc, Logan travels to Japan to meet with an old flame named Mariko Yashida, who has been betrothed to someone else, because her father, Shingen Yashida, thinks him unworthy for his daughter's hand and wants him eliminated. While fighting for his survival against the criminal organisation led by Shingen, Logan also becomes embroiled with a female assassin named Yukio.
While the relationships between the characters and Logan looks a little rearranged in the trailers, the movie does appear to bring back the main key players in the comics in some form or another.
Another important aspect that needed to be translated onto the big screen was also the oriental influence the country had on Logan as he learns to embrace the samurai code, and James Mangold had worked hard to infuse the Japanese essence into the movie.
"There is a significant amount of Japanese spoken in the movie, and the cast is almost entirely Japanese. So there is this wonderful sense of cross-pollination between a very Western character and a far Eastern culture, and I think it's very cool and something we haven't seen so far. I think there is a lot of ways that Japanese film, Japanese fighting, Japanese martial arts have had an effect on this movie. And certainly the movie is dripping with Japanese tradition cinematically, fighting-wise and philosophically as well." he said.
It's a standalone movie from the franchise and the new X-Men shared universe
During early development of "The Wolverine" (when this movie was to be directed by Darren Aronofsky), it had been decided that this movie was to be titled simply as "The Wolverine"; so as not to be identified as a sequel to "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and to reduce its association with its predecessor as much as possible.
"We've deliberately not called it 'Wolverine 2' because we want it to be placed and feel like a standalone picture." said Jackman in an interview.
While it managed to give us more reason to wipe the horrendous "Origins" from our memories, its place in the upcoming "X-Men" shared universe came into question when 20th Century Fox hired comic writer Mark Millar to oversee the new universe, and Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" was announced, when production for "The Wolverine" was already underway.
Concerns were put to rest though, when James Mangold explained that there would no overlapping plot lines that would start from "The Wolverine" and continued in "Days of Future Past" because the notion of a shared universe was not conceived until "The Wolverine" was well into production.
While we should not expect any story elements in "The Wolverine" to become significant in later "X-Men" movies, some subtle references to "Days of Future Past" could still be cleverly inserted. So bear that in mind when you are watching.
Cameos from previous "X-Men" movies in "The Wolverine"
Although the movie was initially planned to follow the original source material that did not feature any mutants other than the Wolverine, but trailers and promotional clips have shown otherwise.
It has also been confirmed that there will be cameo appearances of other characters from previous "X-Men" movies with one such character, who was glimpsed in one the trailers, to be Famke Janssen's Jean Grey.
Jackman explains her appearance in the movie, "There's no doubt that the most important relationship in his life is - we've seen through the movies - is his relationship with Jean Grey. Yes, we saw her die at the end of "X-Men: The Last Stand", but in this movie, she has a presence which I think is vital to the movie, particularly for him confronting the most difficult thing within himself."
While that could be considered a spoiler, but what we won't tell you is the other mutants that would be making small cameos in "The Wolverine". So keep your eyes peeled for those to see if you can spot them.
An After-Credit scene at the end of "The Wolverine"
It's a Marvel Studios movie after all, so this really shouldn't surprise anyone by now. But we wanted to mention this to make sure that no one leaves the cinema hall when the credits start rolling. We would love to tell you what would be shown in the after-credit scene, but we don't want to delve into spoilers or we will never finish writing about its implications to the franchise, or this list. So we will just leave it at that.
Cinema Online, 23 July 2013