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.
By now you’ve likely heard the rumor that Marvel is set to offer Hugh Jackman approximately $100 million to reprise his Wolverine character at least four more times beyond 'X-Men: Days of Future Past.' We all love Hugh, and we all love Wolverine, but we’ve still got to ask: Is Jackman as Wolverine really worth that kind of money?
During the production of 'The Wolverine,' star Hugh Jackman constantly hinted that his time with the indestructible mutant superhero was coming to an end once he wraps the upcoming 'X-Men: Days of Future Past.' Of course, Fox wasn't going to let one of their most valuable commodities go without a fight, so the big question was how big of a check they were going to cut to try and keep Jackman.
Now, we have an idea and it's the kind of deal that will make your modest bank account roll over and weep.
Now that ‘The Wolverine’ has opened, let’s turn our attentions to ‘Future Past’ and break down everything that we know about it, starting with a release date.
The X-Men franchise may have kickstarted the superhero movie revolution, but it's lagged behind the competition in recent years, with 'X-Men: First Class' and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' failing to match the business of the first three films in the series. So all eyes are on 'The Wolverine,' and its number one opening is certainly a reason to celebrate ... but is the opening big enough?
'The Wolverine' is unlike any other superhero ever made. It is, for the first three quarters of its running time anyway, just a “regular movie” that happens to star a guy with magical mutant powers. There have been films that tried to realistically portray what reality would be like if ordinary people put on a cape and mask ('Super' and 'Kick-Ass,' namely) but this reverses it. 'The Wolverine' doesn't show our world with a comic book injection, it shows a comic book world with an injection from our world. And by our world I mean conventional, Hollywood thriller/noir/dramas.
It's a neat trick. But don't get too excited. There are two big issues. One, the “regular movie” at the heart of 'The Wolverine' isn't that interesting – it's a fairly by-the-book tale of corporate corruption, family drama and the mob. Two, there's that final quarter of the film, where 'The Wolverine' craps the bed and slouches toward every comic book movie cliché, most of them done poorly.
Next year, Marvel's mutant superhero known as Wolverine will turn 40. That's four decades of stories. Four decades of being one of the most popular comic book characters on the planet. Four decades of amazing comics and more than a few lousy comics. And, of course, four decades of trivia.
'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.