‘The Wolverine’ Preview: The Claws Are Out

Director James Mangold leads MTV News through Hugh Jackman's return to Logan.

Moviegoers have to wait a few more months before sinking their claws into “The Wolverine,” but James Mangold gave MTV News plenty of reasons why it will be worth the wait.

The director teased an upcoming trailer and promised that Hugh Jackman will be the most intense and rage-filled version of Logan we’ve seen yet onscreen when the film arrives July 26. Read on for more details on the “X-Men” spin-off!

Wolverine’s Eastern Influences
Mangold has high hopes that they have made a unique comic book movie, a film that tells a story people care about and blends genres. “There is a significant amount of Japanese spoken in the movie, and the cast is almost entirely Japanese,” he said of the film’s international flavor and setting. “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.” It also lets Mangold add a few elements from traditional Eastern films, like storytelling, levels of mystery, fighting, combat techniques and shooting style. “I think there is a lot of ways that Japanese film, Japanese fighting, Japanese martial arts have had an effect on this movie,” he said. “And certainly the movie is dripping with Japanese tradition both cinematically, fighting-wise and philosophically as well.”

This Wolverine Stands Alone
Despite the fact that there have been several Wolverine-centric films before this one, Mangold said he didn’t feel the need to make direct references to the previous films and just focused on maintaining the reality of the world that was created and some of the design elements that were established. “We’ve given Logan a new haircut, a shorter haircut that I think is a more handsome haircut,” he said. “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. That was exciting for me.”

Beware the Berserker Rage
All that talk about getting darker and more intense had us wondering how that might affect the film’s rating. “The whole point is not about violence or rating; it’s about intensity,” Mangold said when asked exactly how dark and dangerous things get. “I wanted to make a film that in a way captures the intensity of his character. 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.” And how do you showcase the primal nature of those abilities? Easy, Mangold said: You give the character opportunities to get pissed off. “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,” he explained. “That is interesting for me and then for the character, some of the jet fuel underneath some of the combat in the film.”

Secrets of the Silver Samurai
With Mangold’s previous confirmation that a few of the favorite characters from the comic will make appearances in the film, we couldn’t help but notice that there hasn’t been much talk about Silver Samurai, so we brought up the subject and asked if he could tease his vision for the character, wherever and however he should appear. “No,” was Mangold’s very quick and direct response, which had us chuckling. “You can quote me on that,” he added.

The Trailer Is Coming ‘Soon’
Although he would not reveal a day or time we’ll see a trailer, Mangold did promise something is coming “soon,” though it might be a less-is-more approach rather than two minutes of revealing footage. “I think you always want to put your best foot forward,” Mangold said when asked about how he’s crafting the first look at the film. “For me, I’m not the marketing department of Fox, but for my own tastes, less is more.” He said that because audiences are already familiar with the character, he doesn’t think they have to give away too much, just a proper tease that showcases what he and Jackman have been up to. “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.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Wolverine.”

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