After an innovative, six-second tease that sent rabid comic book junkies into a frenzy earlier this week, the official trailer for The Wolverine has arrived online. Unlike the frantic editing of the Vine teaser debut, the new spot for the comic book blockbuster is cool and composed. Helmer James Mangold gracefully finds a new direction in which to take Hugh Jackman's iconic cinematic superhero.
Gracefully in terms of storytelling, that is. Don't worry: the movie delivers on the promise of "Wolverine fights ninjas," with the added bonus of Mangold finding a way to nuke his main character.
Check out the trailer, then jump into our full breakdown below, digging a bit deeper into some of the video's wilder moments.
We pick up with Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan (Jackman) outside of a bar, looking wet, forlorn, and ready to belt a Jean Valjean number from Les Miserables. Clearly, life post-X-Men: The Last Stand has been rough on the gruff hero, as it has been for anyone who saw the trilogy capper back in 2006. But if he could bounce back to life after the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, he can bounce back from the death of Jean Grey. And he will. As we learn in the trailer.
Meet Yukio (Rila Fukushima). In the arc from which The Wolverine takes its cues, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by the legendary Frank Miller, the mysterious woman comes to Wolverine's aid in the heat of battle. Here, she appears to recruit him for a mission, which, if it stays true to the source material, should involve some nasty Japanese gangsters and the protection of a new love interest for Logan, Mariko Yashida. Yukio may also have some secrets of her own. No spoilers!
This is an image of Wolverine suffering from the blast of a nuke. A NUKE. Here, he's saving a younger version of Mariko's father Shingen from the explosion. Judging from the military base scene a few seconds earlier, this could be a sequence pulled straight from the history books. It appears to be a recreation of August 6, 1945, when the U.S. Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. As we know from X-Men Origins, Wolverine has been around since the Revolutionary War and fought in WWII. He could have been around to protect young Shingen.
Evidently, Shingen is pretty darn appreciative of Wolverine's actions on that fateful day. Sitting in a Pin Point Impression Needle Art Frame™ chair (did he get that at his local mall's science store?), Shingen gives Logan the opportunity of a lifetime: undo his mutation and allow him to be a mortal human being. Note: actor Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays Shingen in the film, is 53 years old. That's some amazing old age makeup!
Assisting in Shingen's continued medical care (and possibly Wolverine's reverse transformation into a regular joe) is Viper, played by Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy actress Svetlana Khodchenkova. Viper is an assassin who originated from the Captain America comics and wasn't part of the original Claremont/Miller storyline. But it never hurts to have an additional assassin in the cast.
We speculated when the six-second teaser arrived online whether Famke Janssen's appearance in The Wolverinewould be a flashback or newly shot material. It seems clear that it's the former, a memory that backs up Shingen's voiceover line "you have struggled long enough."
Sometimes, you have to take a moment and basque in the still-frames of badassness. With all the pitfalls of modern action filmmaking and the cluttered mess of a movie that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman has still got it. He's ripped, he kicks ass, and he can convincingly spar with fake claws glued to his hands.
Will Yun Lee is listed as Kenuichio Harada in the credits of The Wolverine, but savvy comic book fans know him better as The Silver Samurai, one of Wolverine's deadliest foes. Silver Samurai enters into Wolverine's Japanese exploits after he's finished with his entanglement with the Japanese underworld, but it makes sense that the movie would bump up his influence on the storyline and make him a main adversary. In the comics, Silver Samurai has also acted as a bodyguard for Viper, making his appearance even more necessary and rooted in the source material. The only thing this trailer doesn't serve up is a money shot of Yun Lee in the Silver Samurai costume — a traditional set of armor glistening and enhanced by sharp metal.
"I've stopped healing." It's a line that flies by, but here, Wolverine comes to the realization that his usual scratch-be-gone genetics aren't working. Now he's just like us!
No, Wolverine isn't Superman now. He's been reduced to Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible and zipping across the roof of a speeding train. With his angry face on.
One of the more intense sequences from Claremont and Miller's comic is Wolverine's first run in with ninjas. It doesn't go well. He might be tough, capable of slicing baddies in half with lightning speed, but these are ninjas who won't be close enough to our hero for more than a millisecond at a time. While we're looking forward to seeing Jackman kick some butt, we're also looking forward to seeing him get in over his head.
So, Viper may be an actual snakeperson. Sure, why not? This is X-Men! Viper wasn't actually a mutant in the comic books, but since she's running a genetics program for Shingen that's capable of undoing Logan's healing powers, it's no surprise she's used the same technology to beef herself up. Molting never looked so sexy.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox (12)]