After a lengthy buildup (we’re talking years), a trailer for James Mangold’s The Wolverine has been released. I really wish I could say it looked better, but before I get into that, I’d like to share a few thoughts on the X-Men film franchise in general. The series started off well in 2000 with a movie that took itself seriously but isn’t that great by today’s superhero film standards. Its success helped to launch the superhero movie trend that we’re still living in today, though, so there’s certainly something to be said for X-Men, and the casting was perfect. Its sequel was absolutely terrific and still one of my favourite comic book movies today, but then Bryan Singer left the series to do Superman Returns and left it in the fumbling hands of Brett Ratner, who made a crappy but not altogether horrible third instalment. Wolverine then got his own standalone prequel in a franchise offshoot that never took off called X-Men Origins. A Magneto origin movie had originally been planned as well, but was transformed into the reboot movie X-Men: First Class when Wolverine turned out to be a dud. Now here we are, 13 years after the release of the first movie, and, well, I’m kind of confused as to how all these films line up in terms of continuity. The first four are obvious: we have three sequential X-Men movies and a prequel-spinoff in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. At the time of its release, I was under the impression that X-Men: First Class was a reboot, but now it’s been announced that almost the entire cast of the first two X-Men movies, along with the director of those movies, are returning for the sequel to First Class, titled X-Men: Days of Future Past. This new sequel deals heavily in time travel, so you can be the old X-Men cast will be playing the older versions of the characters from First Class…but that screws up the continuity in a big way, as we see Professor X walking at the beginning of X-Men 3: The Last Stand. And I guess The Wolverine is just a standalone film that’s largely unrelated to the rest of the franchise?
Here’s an international trailer. My thoughts on The Wolverine can be found under the cut. The Wolverine comes out July 26, 2013.
Over the course of its production history, The Wolverine only ever became appealing to me once: when Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct. Aronofsky has directed some spectacularly dark movies, and I’d love to see his take on a mainstream property. Unfortunately, Aronofsky dropped out of the production and was replaced with James Mangold, whose film 3:10 To Yuma I love, but whose film Knight & Day was pretty dumb and more recent. Now, looking at the trailer, I realize that my apathy was justified. This looks fine, I suppose. Not particularly stylish or visually interesting. I just hope it isn’t as bad as some other stand-alone-spinoff movies we’ve seen in the past…like Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.