After three instalments of the X-Men franchise and a largely disappointing solo outing, is there much left for audiences to get worked up over as the titanium claws come out once again on July 25th for The Wolverine? In short the answer is a resounding yes, as the series looks to take a murkier, in depth approach that aims to encapsulate the iconic anti-hero in a way that previous attempts have failed to do.
After their teaming on Kate & Leopold (2001), Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold combine talents once again to bring what can only be described as the actor’s ‘passion project’ into fruition. Never expecting to have played Logan over so many films, Jackman feels very intensely about Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s source comic that sees the gruff loner in Japan – of all places – fighting his demons; “My secret dream was to always shoot this particular arc of the Logan story”, Jackman told Marvel in a live chat, “Logan comes into it as the tragic hero that he’s written as”. The actor also claims that audiences will find the character at “his lowest and most vulnerable”.
The film looks to be in good stock with Mangold, too; an eclectic filmmaker who has embarked on various genres and has rarely missed a beat. Not surprisingly in a post-Dark Knight climate that he plans on bringing a stark realism to a comic book adaptation, “my goal was too bring the kind of dramatic integrity you might find in a straight drama into a movie like this. Where it feels really committed and real”. Mangold has also cited Clint Eastwood’s western The Outlaw Josey Wales as a prime influence on The Wolverine; fitting given that film’s sense of loss, rage, and the personal investment of its director/star. With Japanese iconography it looks like the 3:10 to Yuma director might be saddling up for a western tinged adventure again, possibly bringing the introspective dramatics of his Walk the Line over with him.
Stripping away the X-Men squad to devote an entire film to Logan will give audiences the chance to delve into the complicated psyche of their favourite player This of course was done before in Wolverine’s 2009 origin story. Here, the action takes place in the aftermath of X-Men: The Last Stand; Logan is alone, guilt ridden, now without his links to the world and in a foreign land. Whereas the previous solo-film neatly explored the past and tied it in with the first X-Men film, The Wolverine, with its lack of ties to previous films and removed setting, can focus more intently on the isolation of Logan’s damned immortality and get to the essence of this insatiably enthralling character once and for all.
With Jackman in the best psychical shape of his career, don’t miss The Wolverine as it shreds cinemas nation wide on the 25th July.