There's a few things we know about The Wolverine, the follow-up to 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine: we know it's based on the amazing Chris Claremont and Frank Miller mini-series of Logan's adventures in Japan, and that it's coming out in 2013. Aside from Hugh Jackman reprising his role as the world's coolest Canadian, no other cast details have been revealed--unless Hugh Jackman is going to pull off a one-man show, and in that case you heard it here first, folks.
But director James Mangold is promising more than what has become the standard for superhero movies. In an interview with The Playlist, the Walk the Line director likened the sequel to gritty, classic tough-guy movies like The Outlaw Josey Wales and Chinatown. From the interview:
“You could actually just tell a story about this amazing character from the start, just the way they do when you really read a comic. You don’t have to spend the first hour saying how they were born; you can actually just find them in an emotional space, in the middle of action, and what happens is you’re not crowded with cutting to nine other action heroes. You can really make a movie about this dude.
...I think part of the reason I’m doing this picture has been because it isn’t to me a conventional superhero movie. It isn’t an origin story, so I’m freed from that burden, and it also isn’t a save-the-world movie, which most of them are. It’s actually a character piece; I actually think it has more in common with ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ and ‘Chinatown,’ what we’re doing, than the conventional, ‘will Wolverine and his compatriots save the world from this thermonuclear device’ question.
I think more than anything, it’s a character piece, asking really interesting questions that are what pulled me in about what it means to be immortal. What is it to live forever, when you lose everyone you’ve ever loved? Either you watch them get killed, or you just lose them by attrition. What is it to feel the burden of saving mankind through all of its mistakes, over and over and over again. What’s the toll it takes on you as a living being that is somehow living this Frankensteinian, eternal life? And there’s a lot of interesting dramatic questions we’re going to deliver on as well as some really inventive action.”
Much like it took five tries until they finally got Batman right in 2005's Batman Begins, it looks like the fifth time is also the charm for Marvel's most popular mutant. Then again, James Mangold also directed Kate & Leopold, so a little caution couldn't hurt. What do you think? Is a smart, character-driven movie the right direction for The Wolverine?