C'mon Hollywood: Don't F*ck up The Wolverine!
Fox takes a lot of heat (deservedly so) for mucking up the creative process when it comes to adapting their comic-to-film franchises (FANTASTIC FOUR and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND come to mind) and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE is a prime example. Let’s be honest; it was a f*cking mess, minus a few cool scenes. Jackman, who simply owns the role, did his part, and director Gavin Hood did the best he could with what he had, but the result was an unfocused mish-mash. The effects were shite, especially with Wolverine’s claws looking like they were animated for a Don Bluth film and every scene moved to the next at the pace of a movie trailer.
THE WOLVERINE could easily suffer the same fate, which would be a damn shame, especially for those who’d like to see a proper Wolverine film. Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN) signed on to direct the film originally, setting off awesome alarms everywhere. Aronofsky isn't the God of all directors, but he brought considerable clout and an artistic vision. His films are consistent from start to finish, which is precisely the problem with X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE; it wasn't.
Unfortunately, Aronofsky left the project, the first indicator that THE WOLVERINE could be in trouble, and the scramble to fill that void resulted in the hiring of James Mangold, whose primary claim to fame resides in WALK THE LINE and 3:10 TO YUMA, both of which are heavy on the drama. That could be seen as a bonus or a major drawback. THE WOLVERINE doesn’t need dramatic flair. It needs balance. The other issue that hangs over THE WOLVERINE is the source material, as it’s pulling from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine mini-series. The book established a massive set up for Logan, which has followed him up to current continuity. It’s a lot to live up to.
The screenplay for THE WOLVERINE by Christopher McQuarrie has been touted as “great.” I don’t doubt that it is. However, since Mangold came onboard, they’ve begun the rewrite process with another screenwriter, which could very well turn out to be another case of “here we go again.” Mangold has talked some good talk about his perception of the film, but in the end he’s going to have to deliver on that. However, it’s bound to be f*cked by the studio. The action will have to be amped up (20 ninjas instead of 10, more wire work stunts, more, more, more!) in order to meet that “check the block” list that Fox is looking for.
The remedy? First off, Mangold is going to have to be at the top of his game, ready to FIGHT for his vision of the film. He’s already going to have to stand in the shadow of what Aronofsky’s version could’ve been, so he damn well better be ready to get his hands dirty. His deeds will need to match his words.
Secondly, they’d better make Logan’s claws look believable and cool. That goes for the rest of the VFX. Third, either adapt Claremont’s version as it is or abandon the concept completely. Making it bigger and creating a slew of “all new, all better” action sequences is not the answer. It’s okay to embellish and stylize, but to make it something that it never was is pointless.
This will be PG-13, so don’t get your panties in a bunch over “this should be R!” It ain’t gonna happen and, in truth, it doesn’t need to be in order to be good. As much as I’d love to see some NINJA ASSASSIN blood spray, I don’t think it’s necessary for THE WOLVERINE to shine.
I think the only way for THE WOLVERINE to deliver is to let Mangold, Jackman, and the production crew simply make their movie and for Fox to STAY THE F*CK OUT OF THE WAY. However, if the studio cooks are in the proverbial kitchen mucking up the ingredients while the chefs are at the stove, then we’re gonna get a celluloid shit pie akin to the mess that was the last film, rather than a properly baked film. For once, Fox, let the people you hire do the work you hired them to do; the fans will thank you, both with words and their wallets.
With a release date set for July 26th, 2013, that gives all involved plenty of time to get their shit together and deliver a film that satisfies in all the ways the last one didn’t. Here’s to hoping.
|Extra Tidbit:||Mangold could knock it out of the park, no doubt. However, we all have our own choices as to who should helm a Wolverine flick. Who's yours?|