Talk of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” being the last time we’d see Hugh Jackman as the clawed, rapid-healing mutant may have been a tad premature. “The Wolverine” director James Mangold is in early talks with 20th Century Fox to make another solo film with Jackman back in the title role, according to Deadline.
While “The Wolverine” improved upon “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in a number of ways, it wasn’t an unmitigated success. In fact, the Japan-centric spin-off fell short of the prequel’s domestic box office, and critics largely took issue with the sharp tonal change in the film’s third act. (Giant robotic samurai usually don’t go over well.) So if we’re going to get a second effort from Mangold and Jackman, there are a few things worth keeping and some worth tossing away for a follow-up.
DO Focus On Wolverine.
Wolverine has some issues to work through. He always has, and over the course of his long life, things have tended to get worse. Mangold focused on the most basic of these problems. What’s it like to continue living while literally everyone around you dies? That’s a messed up and unique conflict that offers a million different ways to explore it. It’s a waste not to dive in deep to answer that question in favor of concentrating on how sweet it is to have steel claws. But keep it light. The Marvel Studios movies are succeeding because they’re fun. It wouldn’t kill Wolverine to have some too.
DON’T Go Over The Top With The Villain.
This is where “The Wolverine” lost a lot of critics. For most of the film, the audience enjoyed a small-to-medium-size story about family drama and dirty corporate dealings that happened to involve an immortal mutant with claws. Then all of the sudden, we’re in a mountain fortress with an enormous robot that wields a sword. You could feel the whiplash. If the film is going to have a huge climax, it needs to start similarly, or at least build up to the end gradually.
DO Keep Things Small.
The first two acts of “The Wolverine” worked so well because they were essentially a western, and “3:10 to Yuma” had already proved that Mangold knows how to make one really damn well. The story was simple — to a point — and it allowed the more important elements of the film (you know, Wolverine) to really stand out. If Wolverine’s problems in the sequel are clear, tangible and small in scale, we care more and his victories feel more real.
DON’T Worry About Not Including Other Mutants.
That’s what the “X-Men” movies are for, right? If you’re going to make a Wolverine movie, surrounding him with other individuals of various powers just takes away an interesting aspect of “The Wolverine”: that he’s an outcast. Also, most other mutants kind of suck in comparison to him. The least interesting parts of “The Wolverine” had to do with the other mutants that got shoe-horned into the plot.