Recently, Fox screened the new director’s extended cut of ‘The Wolverine’ and hosted an interview with the film's director, James Mangold. Aside from the added 12 minutes of additional scene and violence, the extended cut highlights 2013 as the year Hollywood finally cracked how to make great comic-book movies. Though there has been amazing films made from the pages of Marvel and DC -- this year produced ‘Iron Man 3,’ ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘The Wolverine’ -- what makes these so special is how they've been informed by previous cinematic misfires.
When word arrived that director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman were in talks to return for a 'Wolverine 3' (we'll call it that for the time being, even though we hate that it reminds us of the existence of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'), we openly wondered what existing storyline they would use for the film, or if they would tell a completely original tale. Mangold himself put to rest the notions that they would create their own 'Wolverine' story saying they "absolutely" will be adapting a popular comic storyline.
Arguably one of the most successful differences between James Mangold's 'The Wolverine' and Gavin Hood's flop of an 'X-Men Origins' tale was preventing the floodgate of various mutant appearances from diluting the story of Logan. The new character additions worked well, and aside from the post-credits scene, which saw the return of a couple familiar faces, Famke Janssen's Jean Grey was the only mutant from movies past. However, screenwriter Mark Bomback originally tried to squeeze in another well-known character into the film but ultimately scrapped the idea.
'The Wolverine' is not what you expect. It is very much a self-contained, somewhat “smaller” superhero movie. More straightforward thriller/noir/espionage film than CGI-heavy slugfest. It's less of a surprise, however, when you look at director James Mangold's body of work.
From 'Cop Land' to 'Girl, Interrupted' to '3:10 To Yuma' to 'Walk the Line' to 'Knight and Day' (which I really liked, by the way) to 'Identity' to 'Heavy,' he's had a go at nearly every genre. Now he's teamed up with Hugh Jackman, taking Logan from atop a hermit's mountain to the bullet trains of Japan.
I had the good fortune to speak with Mangold recently, and he really knows his stuff when it comes to movies.
The Comic-Con 2013 panel from 20th Century Fox was pegged as a must-see event at the convention; not only were fans foaming at the mouth for the latest offerings from 'The Wolverine' and 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' -- the former prepping for release on July 26 -- but also for some sort of reveal for Bryan Singer's 'X-Men: Days of Future Past.'
With its release date only a month away, 'The Wolverine' has unleashed yet another new poster on an unsuspecting populace, reminding us that this summer isn't just about 'Iron Man 3' and 'Man of Steel.' The poster doesn't reinvent the wheel in any way, but has everything you need to sell this movie: Hugh Jackman's physique, that same cityscape we've definitely seen before, and two gorgeous women.
While Marvel and Disney are making a fortune by tying together their superhero movies with an increasingly complicated chronology, it must be tempting for 20th Century Fox to look at the 'X-Men' movies in a similar way. However, director James Mangold has come out and made it pretty clear that the upcoming 'The Wolverine' will be its own thing, functioning as a standalone film first and foremost.