There is good reason to hope The Wolverine will improve on the mediocrity of the last two entries in the X-Men series. [Edit: Meant the last two Wolverine-centric X-Men movies, The Last Stand and Origins. I really liked First Class.] That hope can be explained with one word: Japan. A unique setting is a great way to stand out among the countless comic book movies, and the Japan arc is well-loved by fans of the comic. Director James Mangold is thrilled that he gets to take the character to Japan:
“The wonderful opportunity for me with this film is that 90 percent of it takes place in Japan, and even though other elements remain constant from the other pictures, namely Hugh Jackman, we kind of got our chance to reboot the tone and go a little darker and a little deeper than they’ve gone before with this character.”
Hit the jump for more from Mangold, including what he plans to do with the Japan setting and his approach to releasing footage (he says the first trailer is coming “soon”).
Mangold elaborates on the Japanese influence to MTV:
“There is a significant amount of Japanese spoken in the movie, and the cast is almost entirely Japanese. So there is this wonderful sense of cross-pollination between a very Western character and a far Eastern culture, and I think it’s very cool and something we haven’t seen so far. I think there is a lot of ways that Japanese film, Japanese fighting, Japanese martial arts have had an effect on this movie. And certainly the movie is dripping with Japanese tradition both cinematically, fighting-wise and philosophically as well.”
It is not as though the fight scenes will all be graceful Crouching Tiger-style choreography, though. Mangold wants to tap into Wolverine’s berserker rage:
“One of the things that has always been a feature of Wolverine in the comics is that he has a berserker rage, that he has anger and some of his abilities are driven by something more primal… Honestly, to get really pissed off—not cute pissed off, not quippy pissed off, not funny pissed off or cigar-chomping pissed off, just pissed off—that can then help drive the fighting, drive the combat. That is interesting for me and then for the character, some of the jet fuel underneath some of the combat in the film.”
Mangold doesn’t specify, but promises the trailer will drop soon. What will we see when it does?
“I think you always want to put your best foot forward. For me, I’m not the marketing department of Fox, but for my own tastes, less is more… You have a character that’s a bit of a given, you know this guy. Hugh is so good in this role. My point of view is ‘save as much as you can,’ but we will be lifting our skirt and offering a peek or two, certainly in the months to come.”
The Wolverine opens July 26.